In a scene that could easily be taken out of a movie with a twist, nine women housed at a shelter after being rescued during police raids on bars, pubs and massage parlours, broke out after managing to get hold of a hacksaw blade and sawing through the bars of a window early yesterday morning.
While eight women successfully got away from Navjeevan Mahila Vastugriha, a shelter home for women at Mankhurd, one was injured during the daring bid. The women managed to climb over the 10-ft boundary wall, but Feroza Bibi, who was rescued during a raid at a massage parlour in Versova, fractured her leg while landing on the other side. A housewife from a nearby society was picking flowers at 6 am when she found the injured woman and informed the authorities.
The police are currently investigating how the women managed to get a hacksaw blade inside the shelter to cut the iron grills.
“Various courts had ordered the women to be discharged from the centre, but as they were unable to bring their parents the process is pending,” said Assistant Commissioner of Police Shridhar Dhage, Deonar Division.
Vinita Bhogale, the housewife who spotted Feroza said, “I was plucking flowers when I heard someone crying for help. I found the injured woman and the authorities were informed, and she was taken into custody.”
According to a source from the Crime Branch (CB) who was recording the statements of women from the shelter earlier, the Navjeevan shelter has eight staffers instead of the sanctioned 22. The shelter has capacity for 100 persons, but there are around 250 girls there currently.
“The conditions in the shelter are poor. These women get addicted to living a luxurious life when they are working in a club or a bar. After they are brought to shelter homes, they are unable to cope with these conditions,” the CB officer said.
The girls who fled the centre yesterday morning were rescued from Navi Mumbai, Thane and south Mumbai areas. They have all been booked under Sections 224 of IPC (Resistance or obstruction by a person to his lawful apprehension).
Earlier freedom bids
This is the third incident of its kind in the past three months. Seventeen women escaped from the centre on September 10. Another 35 women took advantage of the open doors at the centre on October 20 and made a run for it. While 22 women managed to jump the compound wall and escape, staffers caught 13 escapees.