Balgram officials refute sexual assault claims
But, contrary to the home’s claims, Child Welfare Committee (CWC) members have told MiD DAY that the girl was sexually assaulted by the shelter home inmate.
MiD DAY had published a report (‘Sexual assault of 6-year-old falls on deaf ears’ on October 23) on the delay in action after the alleged incident was brought to the notice of CWC officials and the police.
MiD DAY is in possession of a report by the Women and Child Welfare Commissionerate, which states the girl was sexually assaulted several times.
The report further states that Balgram authorities were asked to make separate residential arrangements for girls and boys but the guideline was not adhered to, following which Balgram was also slapped with a show-cause notice.
Balgram authorities further stated that the information provided to this newspaper was wrong. The letter states that the 6-year-old was sleeping as she was not feeling well, and the 13-year-old boy was playing in the area.
But no sexual assault occurred because of the caretaker watching over them. Speaking about the letter, Ranjan Puranik, honorary secretary of Balgram, said, “There was no assault and whatever information is given to you is not true.”
The enquiry report, a copy of which is available with MiD DAY, by the Women and Child Welfare Commissionerate, states that the girl was found in a semi-naked condition and the boy was hiding under the bed.
The document further mentions that when the girl was asked about the incident, she said that the boy had tried to make physical contact with her many times before. The report says that this clearly shows the negligence of the mother (caretaker).
Explaining the importance of separate houses for adolescent children in homes, Anjali Pawar of NGO Sakhi said, “Many incidents have taken place where children have faced sexual abuse or rape by an inmate.
The District Women and Child Development officer is empowered, and they can ask organisations to make necessary changes.”