Tribune News Service
Patiala, September 13
A day after five children, including two girls, fled Rajpura’s SOS Children's Village, the Rajpura police on Thursday registered a rape case on a complaint lodged by a 15-year-old inmate more than two months ago. The latter had alleged she was raped by a fellow inmate.
“We have filed a case under Section 376 (rape) and various Sections of POCSO Act, 2012, against the accused, who is now working in Kansal. He left the home earlier this year,” DSP Krishan Kumar Panthe said, adding the case needed to be thoroughly probed as the victim had gone back on her statement on an earlier occasion.
Meanwhile, there was high drama through the day with the five escapees, one of them the brother of the alleged rape victim, claiming they were “sexually tortured” by seniors even as the staff members chose to look the other way.
The home has been in a midst of a controversy since July with a private trust writing to the police, alleging that two girls at the SOS Village were being subjected to “sexual torture”. As proof, it sent a video of the victims’confession. However, a case of abuse could be established only in one case. District Child Protection Officer Harpreet Kaur Sandhu claimed the five children who had fled the home had complained of poor quality food, infighting and other minor issues. “We have recorded their statements and allowed their guardians to take them along,” she told The Tribune.
However, Mandeep Singh Sidhu, Patiala SSP, said the police were waiting for a report by the District Child Protection Officer regarding allegations of sexual assault by another girl, among the five children who fled the shelter home on Wednesday.
Sources said one of them visited his aunt’s house. He told her that the other children were waiting for him at the Rajpura railway station and that they planned to board a train for Amritsar. The woman brought the children to her house and lodged a complaint with the police helpline.