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Minor tribal girl, other inmates of Shimla shelter home forced to work as bonded labourers : NGO

The petition urged the court to order an FIR against an official of the Nari Sewa Sadan who allegedly forced the minor tribal girl and other inmates to work as bonded labourer in an official’s residence.  

SHIMLA- In a shocking revelation, Umang Foundation, a non-profit organization working in Himachal, has alleged violation of rights of the destitute inmates of the Nari Sewa Sadan located in Mashobra, Shimla.

In a letter to Hon’ble Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court, Ajai Srivastava, chairman of Umang Foundation, has alleged that the life of a minor tribal girl lodged at Nari Sewa Sadan is in danger due to the certain reasons.

He requested the Court to order the Director (Women and Child Development) to take immediate decision on her application for release from ‘Shelter Home’. The minor girl claims that Kehar Singh from Kinnaur is her biological father and she wishes to go with him. The petition urged the court to order an FIR against an official of the Nari Sewa Sadan who allegedly forced the minor tribal girl and other inmates to work as bonded labourer in an official’s residence.

Also Read : Shocking RTI disclosure of inhumanity at Mashobra Home for Destitute Women

Taking suo motto cognizance of the letter on the matter pertaining to violation of rights of the destitute inmates of Shelter Home and non- compliance of court’s orders, the High Court of Himachal Pradesh has issued notices to the Chief Secretary and others. The respondents have been directed to file reply on December 9, by the division bench comprising Chief Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir and Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan.

An issue of non compliance of High Court’s order dated 4th June, 2015, has been pointed out in the letter in which government was directed to grant relevant pension to the destitute women of Nari Sewa Sadan. The petitioner claimed that the poor inmates are still deprived of pension and urged the court to initiate contempt proceedings against the defaulters.

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The letter also includes separate ‘Shelter Home’ for mentally sick destitute women, arrangement of proper education and vocational training of inmates below the age of 25 years, formulation of a ‘State Policy for Shelter Homes for Women’ and to appoint the Principal Secretary (SJ&E) for, at least, three years.

It’s not the first time that Umang Foundation has exposed irregularities and violation of rights of destitute inmates of the ‘Shelter Home’ in Mashobra. Despite NGO’s consistent efforts to highlight the miserable, degraded lifestyle inmates are forced to pursue in the shelter, HP government has not shown much interest in the issue.

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The HC does pass orders on PILs filed by people, but no change is visible yet. Many inmates are suffering from mental disorders and are not able to take care of themselves. However, the shelter allegedly provides no psychologist or psychiatric treatment for these suffering souls.

Also Read: Mentally challenged women forced to work as 24 x 7 maids with AIDS patient

Indeed, it’s a matter of shame for the entire society that except a few people, no one is standing up for such homeless and helpless women, who need us most. The condition of school for blind and orphanages are not better. The government has miserably failed to provide shelter homes for homeless and destitute people in Himachal.

Image: File Photo used for Representational Purpose

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