7-year-old boy latest victim of sexual abuse at orphanage

Horrid stories trickle out of the private shelter for poor kids

A seven-year-old boy on Monday alleged that he was sodomised not only by older boys, but also by wardens at the Arya Orphanage in central Delhi. His is the latest of the stories of abuse trickling out from the orphan home.

Among the child's tormentors was the  14-year-old boy earlier apprehended for raping an 11-year-old girl, who died in December after allegedly suffering abuse for over six months. Police have registered a case on the basis of the statement of the seven-year-old but no arrest has been made so far.

Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (central) Aslam Khan said there are reports of yet another case of abuse at Arya Ananthalay. “We are investigating into the matter. There is one more such incident but no one has come forward to make a complaint.”

The Daryaganj orphanage houses around 1100 destitute and needy children. Some reports incidicate that 30 per cent of the boys and girls staying there could be victims of sexual abuse. When police started talking with the children,  there were attempts to stop them. 

“There was pressure to stall the investigation. When a team from police and NGO Haq were interacting with the victims, they were stopped midway by the owners of orphanage,” said the source.  

Bharti Ali, founder and co-director of Haq, said, “We had interacted with children at the orphanage for six days and bizarre facts had surfaced. Later, we were stopped from entering the orphanage. Had we been allowed to continue our inquiry, many more cases  would have come to light.”

The kids have been mute victims, not knowing where to complain. “When some of them interacted with the police, they asked to be taken away from the place or else they would be abused again,” said the source.  But Arya Orphanage condemned the allegations and said they were “motivated, malicious and incorrect.” Viresh Pratap Chaudhry, president, Arya Orphanage, said, “The media reports of rampant sodomy and repeated rapes are based on allegations levelled by an NGO. These allegations are baseless.”

“After the death of the minor girl, police had initiated an inquiry. Police had introduced the members of the Haq NGO to the orphanage as police officials. The children were questioned in closed rooms. On February 3, when we learnt that they belonged to an NGO and were asking strange questions to our children, we stopped them from continuing the probe,” he addedChaudhry said Police seemed ‘not serious’ about bringing the culprits to justice. “Some children had come forward with the names of wardens and security guards who used to harass them. It has been more than 10 days but, no arrest has been made so far.”

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