No security, 8 staff for 226 at women’s protection home
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At this government-run protection home for women, hardly any protection is visible for its 226-odd inmates but state apathy is quite evident, and it begins right at the gates. There are no guards at the Navjeevan Mahila Vastigruh in Chembur, near the Deonar bus depot, and the staff crunch is so severe that most of its annual salary budget remains unused.
The protection home has been running since 1960 on rented premises and after irregularities were noticed, the Bombay High Court had passed an order in 1996 to take measures to improve conditions. The state government setting up the home in March this year on three acres of land was one of the steps. Women from vulnerable sections are brought here. Many of them are rescued from sex-trade rackets.
The 226 women have only eight staff to look after them. "These women are vulnerable. They come here after being rescued from inhuman conditions and there is a threat to their lives. The most pressing concern should be security. However, no such provision has been made," Tushar Latne, superintendent, Navjeevan Mahila Vastigruh told The Indian Express.
In the two months since he took charge, Latne has written at least 15 letters to senior government officials including the Commissioner of Police seeking their intervention for urgent security of the premises.
Nisar Tamboli, DCP (Zone 2) and the official spokesperson for Mumbai Police, however, said provisions have been made as per state sanctions.
"Unless the state government asks us to make such security arrangements, we will not be able to provide any cover at the home," he said.
In 2004, within seven months, 141 inmates had escaped from Navjeevan Mahila Vastigruh. The then superintendent had conveyed to the Bombay HC his inability to prevent such escapes owing to lack of security.
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