The story about the plight of girls in a private shelter in the region unravels as the Bangalore Mirror discloses the letter that describes stomach churning details of experiences that they had and the incessant torture that the caretaker Samuel (43) inflicted on them.
An excerpt from the letter says that there were 28 girls in the shelter and Samuel wpuld insisted on a new girl sleeping with him every night. In fact, a girl from Nepal said that he forced her to sleep with her for several nights. The girls dared raising a voice against him because they were beaten up by him.
The 16 year old girls says," I came to this house 3 months ago. One day I saw one of the girls sleeping with him. He pulled her up and spoiled her. She was crying. He pinches our chest, which is very painful. Every girl used to cry. One day I was sleeping and he came to spoil me and I was afraid and I started crying. I almost came to a state where I wanted to kill myself but the other girls did not allow me to do so. I thought this was the best way out."
The "way out" was through her school and a school mate who helped her passing on the letter to her own father Prabhakar V. Discussing the matter with his wife, Prabhakar though it best to report to the school principal Fr M U Paulose and informed the media. Without wasting time, the duo went over to the shelter and questioned Samuel, which is when he confessed asking for forgiveness.
Fr Paulose immideately took the girl (who wrote the letter) and 7 others in his custody and asked them to shift to the school hostel.
What the police did
Indifferent and irresponsible would be an understatement, if we talk about the police. Everything went according to the rulebook, except for their action. Fr Paulose, after taking charge of the 8 girls, took them to the Avalahalli police station and gave a written intimation to take care of the girls along with the copy of the girl's letter.
BM went from pillar to post to get the matter escalated and get Samuel arrested. When there was no response from the Avalahalli police station, they went to the Kothnur police station to file a complaint. Much to their dissapointment, the sub-inspector Byra said that the case cannot be taken up because it is not under their jurisdiction. They were asked to contact the Bagalur police station with an assurance of sending two policemen to inspect the shelter.
The response from the Bagalur police station, brought a ray of hope, but was short-lived. P A Hegde, the station inspector came to the site, went through the trust and audit documents that Samuel provided him and let him go, asking him to come to the police station with the documents the next day. Why was he not arrested? The police said that all the documents were genuine and the shelter was registered.
He further demanded that the original complainant (Fr Paulose) should come over to the police station and file a complaint, adding that the victims should also be ready to come to the court and give statements.
Disturbed by the brushing-off act by the police, police commissioner Raghavendra Auradhkar was informed. Surprised at the police's delay in such a case, he immideately directed the Bagalur inspector to take action at the earliest. On Tuesday, 6 August the police, along with CWC workers finally came cracking on the shelter. On thorough investigation, it was found that children were illegaly kept and the records were haphazardly maintained.
Samuel, however, denied all allegations and said that the girls left because they complained of the food. However, interrogating the rest of the girls proved otherwise as all of them related the same gruelling experience as that of the girl. Samuel was immideately arrested.
To cut a long story short, this raises concern over the situation of orphanages in the city. And adding to their plight is the indifference of the city police.