Monday, January 15, 2007 (Karnal):
Reports say a state run shelter for women in Haryana has crammed more than 40 girls and women in three rooms in squalid conditions.The shelter called Nari Niketan is located in Karnal where majors, minors and the disabled live together. Up to six girls sleep on a single bed or they sleep on the cold floor and the bathrooms are dirty. There is growing speculation over why state funds allocated for the shelters are not used for them. After reports of poor conditions at the shelter the High Court in October sent advocates to inspect all orphanages and old age homes in Karnal. “There was no light, it was dark, there was no quilt or sheet, the girls were sleeping on the floor,” said advocate Raman Malhotra who went to inspect Nari Niketan. Her report shocked the court and the chief judicial magistrate decided to see for himself.Media watchMeanwhile during a sub-divisional magistrate’s routine visit to Nari Niketan the local media also discovered the poor conditions at shelter homes.Rattled by newspaper reports and ahead of the CJM’s visit, the government suspended the superintendent of the home and rushed in new things. “All new things were brought in during the past two days,” the gatekeeper at Nari Niketan said. The Social Welfare Department refused to comment but a local NGO, which works with homeless women in Karnal says the government doesn’t really care.”It is the duty of the Social Welfare Ministry to take care of all the homes but they just don’t bother,” says Ravi Kant, the director of Shakti Vahini.