‘Illegal’ Orphanage Raided, no Inmates Found at Facility
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18 June 2011
Ashram Owner Refutes Allegations
The Child Welfare Committee of the state ministry of woman and child welfare conducted a raid on Niradhar Balak Ashram in Dapodi on Thursday following complaints that the orphanage was being run without permission. Though no children were found at the ashram during the raid, school bags and other material were found and the committee is trying to find where the children were shifted.
Anita Vipat, member, child welfare committee said, ’The raid was conducted on Thursday. We found school bags and other materials, but no children. Hence, we could not take action against the orphanage. We have come to know that the orphanage has a website where photos of the children staying there have been uploaded. We will conduct further action with the help of police.’
Anuradha Sahasrabuddhe, director, Dnyan Devi Childline said, ’A person I know told me that he gives donations to an orphanage in Dapodi and some people had come to meet him to seek more donations. He asked me whether I knew of the orphanage and whether it is run legally. Raids have been conducted four times in the past six years on Niradhar Balak Ashram in Dapodi. Earlier the ashram operated in a small room, but now it operates from a two-storied structure.’
She further said, ’We complained about the ashram on Monday to the Child Welfare Committee. Two social workers were sent to the ashram to verify its existence. They found 36 children in the age group of 4 to 18 years and a twomonth-old child staying there. Posing as a donor, I spoke to the owner of the ashram, Malan Tulwe on Wednesday and enquired whether she also gives children for adoption.
When I asked her whether her ashram was legal she claimed that she will get the required permission in two days and that she has 36 children under her care at present.’
Sahasrabuddhe stated that she was worried about the 36 children who seemed to have vanished. She has also informed the juvenile aid police unit and sought their help to trace the children.
Malan Tulwe, owner of the Niradhar Balak Ashram, refuted the allegation that she ran an illegal orphanage. Tulwe said, ’How can I hide 36 children in half an hour? It was a sudden raid. My daughterin-law was sitting on the verandah with her daughter. They enquired about the children. My daughterin-law called for me as I was inside. They took the keys and within minutes the people opened the cupboards and found old school bags.’
Tulwe said that she was asked to close the orphanage last year on June 10 after which she closed it. ’I have applied for a licence to operate an orphanage, but still not received it,’ she said.
’I have kept the old school bags, books and other materials of the children for the past one year as I hope to get the permission to operate soon. If I get the permission then I will not be able to collect the materials required by the children quickly, so I have stored the old materials. I own the house where I want to run an orphanage,’ Tulwe said.