Transgenders to provide security to women in Bihar’s short stay homes

The Bihar government will soon employ transgenders to guard state-run short stay homes for women and girls after recent reports of sexual exploitation and rape of inmates at several shelters.

The social welfare department’s principal secretary Atul Prasad said they are working on a proposal to hand over the security of short stay homes, specially meant for minor girls, to transgenders.

“It will be like killing two birds with one stone. Transgenders will have jobs opportunity and the government can rely more on them for the security of girls living in short stay homes …” Prasad added.

Chief minister Nitish Kumar has already given his go-ahead to the department’s proposal and asked officials to ensure the security of the inmates of short stay homes.

The department operates short stay homes for destitute children and abandoned women in 28 out of 38 districts of the state.

“The department has proposed to set up shelter homes in all districts. All such homes are set to have a dedicated unit for minor girls,” said Prasad.

The transgenders could also be engaged for the security of the rehabilitation centres meant for girls and women rescued from prostitution rackets as well.

Prasad said the department has planned opening shelter homes for those rescued from prostitution in the ten border districts under Ujjwala scheme.

Reports of sexual abuse of inmates at short stay homes in Muzaffarpur and Chapra, which surfaced in the wake of a social audit of such centres by Mumbai’s Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), recently shocked the state.

A 23-year-old hearing impaired inmate of short stay home in Chapra being run by a non-government organisation, Nari Utthan Kendra, was found pregnant earlier this month. Similarly, 18 of the 44 minor inmates in the home in Muzaffarpur are believed to have been sexually assaulted by those running and maintaining the shelter.

The district police had arrested the functionaries of Muzaffarpur’s Seva Sankalp Evam Vikas Samiti—an NGO engaged by the department to run the short stay home—along with some officials after reports of physical violence and sexual abuse of girls emerged.

A guard and a few functionaries of Nari Utthan Kendra were also arrested following the report of an inmate getting pregnant.

The Patna high court, while hearing a case related to the sexual abuse of inmates of Muzaffarpur-based short stay home, on Monday directed the petitioner as well as the respondents, which included the state government, to make the state legal services authority a party in the case so that a proper direction could be passed in it.

Krishna Dev Mishra, a lawyer and child rights activist, filed a case in the court, seeking direction for the constitution of a panel of experts for protection of life and dignity of girls living in shelter homes.


Source: Subhash Pathak- HT

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