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Madhya Pradesh: 26 girls reported missing from illegally-operated Bhopal shelter home

These girls hailed from various regions, spanning Gujarat, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, as well as Sehore, Raisen, Chhindwara, and Balaghat in Madhya Pradesh. The FIR highlighted numerous irregularities in the illegally-operated children's home.

Madhya Pradesh: 26 girls reported missing from illegally-operated Bhopal shelter home AJR
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First Published Jan 6, 2024, 3:47 PM IST

In an alarming revelation at an unlicensed shelter home in Bhopal, distress emerges as 26 girls, originating from Gujarat, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh, have gone missing, sparking deep concern and investigations into the facility's operations and safety measures.

The alarm was raised when Priyank Kanungo, the chairman of the National Commission for Protection Of Child Rights (NCPCR), conducted an impromptu inspection at the Aanchal Girls' Hostel situated on the outskirts of Bhopal in the Parwalia area. During his visit, he discovered entries of 68 girls in the register, but shockingly, 26 of them were unaccounted for.

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Anil Mathew, the shelter home's director, failed to provide satisfactory answers when questioned about the missing girls, prompting the police to file an FIR in the case.

These girls hailed from various regions, spanning Gujarat, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, as well as Sehore, Raisen, Chhindwara, and Balaghat in Madhya Pradesh. The FIR highlighted numerous irregularities in the illegally-operated children's home.

Kanungo's tweet shed light on the situation, alleging that a missionary, managing the home without a license, had clandestinely housed rescued children, predominantly of Hindu faith, and purportedly compelled them to adopt Christianity.

The incident revealed that the missing girls were not under the jurisdiction of the Child Welfare Committee, despite claims by the shelter home officials that they were rescued and presented before the Committee.

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Further investigations unveiled unsettling details: the shelter home continued to operate, the presence of non-vegetarian items in the kitchen, imposition of a singular religious practice, absence of CCTV surveillance, and a violation of rules regarding security personnel - including male guards in a girls' shelter home.

This disheartening episode has drawn attention at the highest levels, with a notice forwarded to the state Chief Secretary. Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan highlighted the gravity of the situation, urging swift government intervention.

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