Girls kept without clothes, food in Jaipur orphanage

Pastor who raped minors starved children with wife's help

Two days after the arrest of 52-year-old pastor Johnson Chacko, preliminary investigation has revealed that girls at his orphanage–Mercy Home–were sexually harassed and were kept without clothes and food for several days.

The shocking revelation was made by several inmates before Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Arun Chaturvedi, who visited Mercy Home to take stock of the situation.

“I met all the 19 girls who were living in Chacko’s orphanage. Many of them, aged between seven and 12 years, told me that Chacko and his wife used to keep them without food and clothes for several days.

“The police have already recorded the statements,” said Chaturvedi. The girls are in a state of panic and we have made all possible arrangements for them, he added.

Earlier, Chacko was arrested for allegedly raping and harassing two minor girls staying at the orphanage. His wife was also arrested. The incident came to light when a victim narrated her plight to the school teacher who reported the matter to the police.

The police said that two minor girls have alleged sexual harassment, while one 10-year-old girl has accused Chacko of rape. Child counsellors have been called in, who are counselling the girls and are trying to find out whether more girls have suffered a similar fate. It is also suspected that Chacko forced the girls to convert.

A senior police official said that the orphanage was functioning illegally without registering at the social justice and empowerment department. All the financial assistance to Mercy Home was granted by a Delhi based organisation, Full Gospel Church of God.

Meanwhile, the Chacko couple were produced before the court from where they have been sent to two days in remand. 

Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje has asked the police to check the registration and other credentials of all old age homes, orphanage and child homes functioning in the city.

The incident evoked strong response with several political and non-political organisations staging a protest outside Mercy Home. Former chief minister Ashok Gehlot alleged that in the last two months, there have been 11 incidents of rape in Jaipur. He blamed Raje and the police for failing to maintain law and order. 

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