Shelter Homes or Hell Holes ?


Jabbar Patel’s  ” Subah ” in Hindi  & ” Umbartha ” in Marathi was a film, which won many awards. In that movie, Smita Patil plays the role of the in charge of a shelter home for women. She discovers that a local MLA has been abusing the inmates of the home for his lust.Umbartha was released way back in 1982. Jabbar Patel knew, about the rot in society unleashed by our netas more than three & half decades back .Since then, the rot has spread deeper & wider. And as the recent abuse of girls & women in shelter homes has come to light, these show no signs of abating.

The whole case or rather cases is just eyewash or maybe a total washout. Hardly, any arrests have been made. The social welfare minister of Bihar continued in office even though her husband allegedly paid regular visits to the shelter homes for obvious reasons. The probe has been handed over to CBI & yet, the Bihar CM has blamed all, except, his own government for all this horrendous crime/ s. He refuses to resign .After public outcry, the minister for social welfare in Bihar has finally put in her papers. Even the party in power at Centre which is   a partner in the Bihar Government has suddenly turned blind, deaf & mute.

And as the government had funded the shelter homes, it may be concluded that these rapes were patronized by the State of Bihar?  This is shocking .Maybe, nothing shocks us anymore. Because, women & girls do not count for anybody in this land of ours. In fact, not even in the world. The plight of girls kidnapped by Boko Haram never evoked any action and or reaction except some crocodile tears & a tiny  bit of lip service  because petrol is more important than women & girls. And our Indian leaders excel at copying the leaders on the world stage.

As our nation was debating about these horrendous rapes of girls, when another eerily similar story of a shelter home in Deoria in UP breaks out. In the state of UP, the government continues in power as if nothing happened. After all, where is the necessity to even, pay lip service when girls are abused? Beti bachao , beti padhao is meant to garner votes, not for action thereon. And then in MP , a deaf & dumb girl  was raped at  a state funded shelter home .Since nearly half the Indian population ( read girls & women ) is terrorised by molestation, rapes, et al, it follows that stringent laws need to be enacted for trying all the accused in such cases.

These cases suggest that the law enforcers knew, about these crimes being committed at the hell homes .And yet, choose to turn a blind eye. Maybe, they just did not give a damn. And even after knowing about the horrors being inflicted on the inmates, kept on sending potential victims to the said hell/ s. As law enforcers  law makers turned predators, whom do we turn to, for relief? To the courts ? Another solution is to opt for  NOTA (None of the Above) for voting at elections. This is because; none of the political parties appears to be bothered by these horrendous rapes of minor girls.

There is a feeling, that death penalty for rapes of girls up to the age of 12 years is going to stop such crimes or even reduce such crimes. Nothing could be further from the truth . Many accused in such cases would kill the victim/ s. Many cases involve relatives of minor victims  hence complaints will not be filed such accused will continue with their lustful actions. Awarding death penalty is a long & expensive process .It defeats the very purpose of punishment. Faster trials  certainty of punishment is the key to reducing such crimes.

As many as nine  states have refused access to the agency appointed for social audit of the shelter homes .This, after the Ministry of Women & Child Development & the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights ( NCPCR )  had written to the states. Audit is as per an order from the Supreme Court. The states have to realise that until & unless social audit is done, abuse misuse will continue & aggravate. And an unsafe environment breeds fear lawlessness. Good governance includes monitoring of institutions as well. That has to be regular & continuous not a onetime affair. Then only, will, the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao campaign ring true

We need to stop shaming the survivors & their parents & friends etal. It is said, that girls asked for it. The girls were wearing revealing clothes .Their parents did not care & so on .The least, we can do, is support the survivors by not saying anything against them. Our anger needs to be redirected towards the accused .Even the Supreme Court says that identity of rape survivors needs to be protected as in our nation,  victim / survivor shaming is a license, many swear by !

And, we need to inculcate respect for girls & women in our homes. After all, as charity begins at home, so does everything else. Then, only will the boys & men at home, respect girls & women. And that will get reflected in society. Hopefully, then, such hells will cease to exist!

 I am a law graduate from Government Law College,Mumbai.I am a Fellow in General Insurance ( technical qualification for insurance ) .I am a homemaker at present, having worked for nearly 16 years in General Insurance in the Public Sector. I blog about recipes @ & my views @



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