The manager of a shelter home for women was arrested on Thursday in Chhattisgarh's Bilaspur district for allegedly raping one of its inmates, police said. The development took place two days after the 19- year-old victim along with two other women, who were recently shifted out of the shelter home, accused its staff of indulging in sexual and physical abuse against the inmates.
"The statements of the three women were recorded before a magistrate under section 164 of the CrPC on Thursday, during which one of them stated that she was raped by shelter manager Jitendra Maurya," Bilaspur Superintendent of Police Prashant Agrawal said. Another woman alleged that she was physically assaulted by the shelter staff, he said.
Based on the statement, Maurya was arrested and further investigation into the matter is underway, he added. Ujjwala Home Bilaspur, operated by NGO Shri Shivmangal Shikshan Samiti since 2014, landed in controversy on January 17 when a 20-year-old woman was allegedly denied to leave the shelter even as her husband had reached the place to take her back home.
"The 20-year-old woman had been shifted to the shelter home on January 16 when she was found wandering nearby. She said she had left her home after a fight with her husband", another police official had said. The next day, her husband reached the shelter home to take her back, during which the staff of the facility asked him to show the proof that he is her spouse, following which he entered into a verbal spat with them, he said.
The man then forcibly took his wife and reached Sarkanda police station, where they lodged a case of wrongful confinement, voluntarily causing hurt and obscene acts against the shelter home staff. Shelter home manager Maurya also lodged a case against the woman's family on charges of house trespass and obscene acts, he said.
Meanwhile, two other women had also reached the police station alleging physical and mental abuse of inmates at the shelter home and they were also made complainants in the case, he said. On Tuesday, the three women had approached the media stating that one of them was sexually assaulted by Maurya and other inmates were physically tortured by the shelter staff, following which they were called up for recording their statement before the magistrate on Thursday.
The woman who has claimed that she was raped by Maurya, is a victim in an another gang-rape case. After their statements, section 376 (rape) and 354 (molestation) of the IPC were included in the case already registered against Maurya and shelter home staff on January 17, the SP said, adding that further investigation into the case is underway.
Maurya, however, had denied the charges. Another government official said the shelter home has been shut and seven other inmates have been shifted to their homes and other government facilities.