Why do girls go to the bathroom in groups? Sometimes, they do it to escape a packed, decrepit rescue home. Seventeen inmates of the Shashkiya Kasturba Mahila Vastigruha in Chembur executed a planned escape out of the overcrowded home. While 16 managed to flee, one was caught before she could board a train from Chembur.
Post dinner, they went to the bathroom on the pretext of washing their plates and broke the window. One by one, they stepped on a plastic water drum so they could reach the window and then made a run for it.
The incident took place on Saturday, between 7.15 pm and 8 pm after the women had finished dinner. Post dinner, they went to the bathroom on the pretext of washing their plates and broke the window. One by one, they stepped on a plastic drum so they could reach the window and then made a run for it.
The girls had been rescued from dance bars and massage parlours across the city. Representational pic
The officials only came to know about the escape after the women did not return. Upon checking the bathroom, the security officials raised an alarm and the premises were searched. Soon, the broken window and the drum stationed below it were noticed. The women were brought to the home just a month ago, when they were rescued from dance bars and massage parlours across the city. The home will undergo renovations soon.
Fled to the station
The security guards inquired with locals and learned that the women had rushed towards Chembur railway station. Upon reaching the station, one of the women was found and was brought back but the other 16 managed to flee.
The rescue home, plagued by a shortage of security staff, had only one woman official at the time of the incident, according to Ujwala Howal, Probation Officer and Acting Superintendent of Shashkiya Kasturba Mahila Vastigruha, Chembur. She said, “We are in the process of shifting the other rescued women to the Kasturba Women Beggars home. The floor for their occupancy is yet to be decided.”
Senior police inspector, Sandeep Dal of Chembur police station said, “Investigations are on. All those who escaped are natives of Bengal and were rescued from different areas of the city. Action was taken under the PITA law.”
The women had earlier been booked under the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking act (PITA) and after they were produced before the Mazgaon court they were sent to the rescue home.
Of the 16, two were rescued by Chembur police, five by DB Marg, three by Kasturba Marg police, two by Rabale police, two by Malad police and two by Kandivli police.
An official said, “While conducting panchnama it was discovered that the escape was planned. A case has been registered at Chembur police station.”
Another official said, “However, the one who was brought back to the rescue home has said she was unaware about the escape plan until the last moment.”
Unhygienic, packed homes
The rescue homes are overcrowded and are often unhygienic. Varsha Kale, president of the Bar Girls association, said, "On several occasions, I have visited the city’s rescue homes. The conditions are so bad that the women do not wish to even stay for a day. The food, clothes provided are unhygienic and even the counselling of the victims is not up to the mark. In such conditions what is expected? The state government must at least provide basic and hygienic facilities.”
In 2012, a similar incident had occurred, 6 rescued women, including a minor had escaped from a women’s rescue home in Mankhurd by managing to break the grill of the window in the bathroom. In the morning round-up, the rescue home officials had found that the women were missing and a complaint was lodged with the Govandi police.