38 MTWT home inmates shifted to Patamda, 2 more girls ‘missing’
Two girl inmates have been reported missing from a state-registered shelter home in Jharkhand’s East Singhbhum district, whose director and staff have been booked for alleged sexual assault and torture of underage girls, senior officials familiar with the matter said on Saturday
Two girl inmates have been reported missing from a state-registered shelter home in Jharkhand’s East Singhbhum district, whose director and staff have been booked for alleged sexual assault and torture of underage girls, senior officials familiar with the matter said on Saturday. The incident came to light late Friday evening when the authorities were shifting 41 inmates from the home to Bal Kalyan Ashram in Patamda.
“Thirty eight inmates have been shifted to Bal Kalyan Ashram in Patamda from the MTWT in Kharanghjar under Telco PS last evening (Friday). It came to notice that two inmates were missing. An investigation is underway in the matter,” said Parameshwar Bhagat, Jamshedpur deputy development commissioner (DDC).
The two missing inmates hailed from Birsanagar and Ghatshila.
Earlier, on June 5, two other girls were reported missing from the shelter home, which is run by Mother Teresa Welfare Trust (MTWT) NGO. The two tribal girls, aged 16 and 17, were later rescued by the police from Birsanagar on June 6 night, and a case was subsequently registered based on their allegations of sexual assault and torture at the home for the past four years.
On June 7, a first information report (FIR) was lodged under Posco (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act and sections of the Indian Penal Code against Harpal Singh Thapar, director of the home, his wife Pushpa Rani Tirkey, the chairperson of East Singhbhum district child welfare committee (CWC), warden Geeta Singh, her son Aditya Singh, and another staff member Tony Singh.
According to the MTWT’s list of inmates, the shelter home has 43 children, including 23 girls and 20 boys, all of whom are under the age of 18.
MTWT has no links with Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity.
Meanwhile, more questions marked the investigation after BJP district spokesperson Ankit Anand posted an October 2020 interview of Tirkey, where she told a local newspaper that the home had 55 inmates.
“Pushpa Rani Tirkey had said in her interview published on October 24 last year that there were 55 children kept and taken care of at the MTWT in Kharanghjar. But she said there are now 43 inmates in MTWT in her press conference before fleeing from the city in the wake of sexual abuse case. I have requested the DC to probe if this is data mismatch or where 12 inmates vanished,” he said in the tweet.
Jamshedpur ASP Kumar Gaurav said: “Nothing could be said conclusively till we get the final list of inmates from the Jamshedpur district Child Welfare Committee (CWC).” Accused Aditya Singh, too, is mentioned in one of the lists of inmates, he added.
In a similar case at a shelter home in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur, which came to the fore three years ago, 12 people, including main accused Brajesh Thakur, were sentenced to life imprisonment in February 2020 by a Delhi court, which heard the case following orders from the Supreme Court.