Girls staying at a Delhi shelter home were sexually assaulted by the staff, who shoved chilli powder in their private parts in full public view as part of the punishment for bad behaviour, said Delhi Commission for Women.
A statement by the DCW said that on 27 December, members of its expert committee visited a shelter home for minor girls in Dwarka and was deeply disturbed to see the condition of the home.
According to the DCW, the members were appalled to see the kind of punishment being meted out to girls at the shelter home. The elder girls (teenage) complained that any sort of defiant behaviour from the children would be met with serious and grave punishment because of which the girls had become submissive. The DCW statement said, “It was horrifying to know that chilli powder was thrusted (sic) publicly in their vagina and butts by female shelter home staff as forms of punishments. Other forms of punishment included beating with scales for not keeping the rooms clean and for not listening to the staff. The girls were not permitted to go home during summer and winter vacations.”
And if this was not enough, some girls said that the shelter home staff forced them to have chilli powder in order to discipline them.
The elder girls in the group informed that they were forced to do household chores in the shelter home. Since the home did not have adequate domestic staff, the elder ones were forced to take care of the younger girls. The elder girls washed utensils, cleaned rooms and toilets, washed clothes and other kitchen chores. There was only one cook in the shelter home for all the 22 girls and staff and the children informed that the quality of food provided to them was not proper.
The committee members were aghast at these revelations and shared the same with DCW Chief Swati Maliwal who immediately reached the Home at 8 pm in the night. An infuriated Maliwal then called the Deputy Commissioner for Police, Dwarka who sent a team of senior officers to the shelter home in civil dress (to maintain child friendly atmosphere) and recorded statements of the children. An FIR has been registered by Delhi Police against the staff of the Home.
The Delhi Commission for Women Chairperson along with Members of the expert committee stayed in the Home till early morning. A team of DCW counsellors as well as police (in plain clothes) have presently been deputed in the home 24×7 to ensure the safety of the children. The DCW said that it will continue to monitor the condition of the shelter home.