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Alleged sexual abuse at Ujjawala Home; WCD dept recommends closure.

The Chhattisgarh Women and Child Development (WCD) department on Friday has urged the Centre that the Ujjawala home in Bilaspur, where many women have claimed sexual abuse by the staff, be shut down. The proposal has been made on the basis of a request submitted by officials of the department on the situation at the shelter, run by NGO Shivmangal Shikshan Samiti.

The Samiti’s president Jitendra Mourya, who has been accused of sexually abusing women residing at the shelter and arrested on Thursday, was taken under judicial custody on Friday. Officials of the state WCD department conducted a sudden checking at the Ujjawala home on January 18, a day after three women fled from the shelter home with the help of the family members of one of them. These women later went to the police station and lodged a complaint about sexual and physical abuse at the shelter. The police then filed an FIR under bailable sections. After the women’s statements were taken into consideration in front of a civil judge in the district court on Thursday, the police added sections of rape and assault to the FIR and arrested Mourya.

The seven women left at the home were scared and not ready to speak. These women are from Assam, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, and  Chhattisgarh. It is reported that the women were not given enough food or articles of daily use like soaps, and medical supplies. They were “verbally abused, beaten and intimidated”. The panel that examined the home has evacuated the home out of safety concerns. Three of the women were handed over to their families and the rest have been accommodated in other centers for women.



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