Public hearing held at Bangla Sahib Shelter Homes in New Delhi

“We will never sleep in this shelter. I too have young daughters. Am worried about their safety and security.” Ramkali

On the date of 03 September 2015 Centre for Holistic Development (CHD) and other organisations held a public hearing meeting on the issues of physical violence and recently held case of rape with a girl child having 6 year age. Before conducting Public hearing there has been survey of condition of shelter house by Mr. Manish Kumar and on discussion with residents he found that residents of shelter houses are beaten up by the security guards of the shelter house, women are harassed physically and care giver abuse residents frequently and threatens them for sexual harassment and throwing them out of the shelter house. On which Centre for holistic development has decided to conduct a public hearing in the shelter and to analyses the situation and condition of the shelter house and problems faced by the resident.

The public hearing started today evening at 3:00 PM in the presence of Dr. indu prakash singh of SAM:BKS and NFHR, Sunil Kumar Aledia of CHD, Mr. Manish Rai, Ms. Khusboo Jain (a Ph.D student of DU and former Consultant with the NCPCR). At the outset of the Public Hearing indu prakash singh told that Ms. Swati Maliwal, Chairperson of Delhi Commission of Women (DCW) could not come, nor any of her other Commission Members due to prior listing of cases they had to attend to. And that she promised to take action on the findings of this Public Hearing. Hence the homeless women residents of the shelters need to share truthfully what they have been encountering staying in these shelters. 
Initially public hearing was decided to be conducted within the shelter house premises but Rakshak, the agency under which this shelter comes denied granting permission for conducting the meeting. This was despite the organisers of the Public Hearing, showing the Rakshak Personnel, the email which was also marked to them, by Shri Bipin Rai, Member DUSIB, allowing them to conduct the Public Hearing. Shri Bipin was made to talk to Mr. Prashant of Rakshak and there to he asked them allow the Public Hearing to be held. But the Rakshak Personnel refused to entertain his Order. Then on the request of residents the meeting was held on footpath near traffic training park, on Baba Kharak Singh Marg.

In the hearing it was found that the Rakshak staff: threatens the women with sexual harassment, abuse them frequently, security person consumes alcohol with in shelter premises, there are pregnant women who are not receiving any treatment, some of the family living in the Jhuggi (temporary house) because security personnel are not giving them space to live in the shelter, some households have been burnt by the security personnel and there is insecurity among resident due to harassment at the hands of the security personnel.

Testimonial of the residents of Bangla Sahib Shelter house

Name: Kamla Gopalchari
Resident: Bangla Sahib shelter house
I am living in the shelter home since past 16 months but now the security person of the shelter home started torturing me. Security person beats women, I am in the need of health care services but shelter home administration is not providing any kind of health facility. When I ask them for doctor help or medicine they abuse me and directs me to go to the hospitals., indeed they abuse me occasionally when I ask them for ambulance services. There is absence of care taker in the shelter home, the sanitation facility is at worst condition and it is very unhygienic to use. Shelter home administration is also not providing this facility. People in the shelter home drink alcohol and abuse the women of the shelter home and this activity is taking place in the presence of administration. Problem of alcohol use has become common in the shelter home to which administration is aware of but they do not take any action for those people.

Name: Sarita
Resident: Bangla Sahib shelter home

Security personal came into my house and beat me up in group for which I & other shelter home members have registered a complaint in the nearby police station. Police came to see the issue but no action has been taken by police people, on the security personal. There is no care taker in the shelter home to look after me.

Name: Pushpa Devi
Resident: Bangla Sahib shelter home

The administration people (Rakshak) torturing the shelter home residents. They beats us, threaten us even I have said to the higher authority of the shelter home then also no action has been taken up. Since there are personal conflict are also within the people living in the shelter home for which I have complaint to security persons and because of no action I decided to move on streets again and currently I am staying at the Hanuman Mandir. There are some assigned caretakers named Kundan and Raju who use to abuse me and others and care takers also threaten me and others of rape and physical abuse. And now when I want to come back in the shelter home the administration is not allowing me to enter and stay.

Name: Ramkali
Resident: Mohan Singh Place

I do not find shelter home safe because once I was feeding milk to my child and the one of the persons was taking picture of my breast while feeding to the child. I don’t live in shelter home. Once security personnels have come to me and they forced me to come back in the shelter home again but I refused to it. The accused of rape of 6 year old girl child has been doing this activity since very long time to which even security person were aware of and they didn’t took any preventive step before the incident of rape.

We will never sleep in this shelter. i too have young daughters. Am worried about their safety and security.

Name: Sapna
Resident: Bangla Sahib shelter home

In the shelter home the security persons are renting the shelter home to the new residents and charging Rs. 2000 for a month. When residents refuse to pay, they threaten to throw them out of the shelter home. And they beat the shelter home residents, when we complain about this renting.

All in all, the homeless women were petrified by the Rakshak personnel. They preferred street than such shelters, where they were hurled abuses day in and day out. Their safety and security, of their own selves and their own children, are major concerns for them. The Rakshak personnel drink in the shelter premises and walk into their shelters, being fully drunk and abusive.

It seems these Shelters are torture camps for the homeless women, who have nowhere to go.

Indu Prakash Singh informed the homeless women that this report will be given to Ms. Swati Maliwal, the DCW Chairperson and in the next such meeting she will be present.

Citizen’s reporter
Sunil Kumar Aledia

Centre for Holistic Development (CHD)