Sexually abused and their complaints hushed, 50 girls were kept in a pitiable condition in a missionary home in Tamil Nadu.
Thanks to the efforts of an IAS officer, they have finally been rescued.
KS Kandasamy, the district collector of Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, was informed that the Mercy Adaikalapuram Missionary home in his jurisdiction, was violating government regulations. Soon after, he set off for the home to check its functioning, and what he saw there was nothing less than a shock for him.
Firstly, the infrastructure of the home was in a deplorable condition. Then, he noticed that about 50 girls between the ages of 5 to 22 years lived there and yet, were supervised by a male security guard. When Kandasamy discovered that 65-year-old Luban Kumar, the director of the home, also resided in the same building with his family, he got suspicious and initiated an inquiry.
Speaking to the Times of India, the IAS officer said, “The home lacked basic amenities, the girls had no privacy and were supervised by a male security guard.”
One of the things that irked the district collector was that the bathrooms did not have doors. The girls were also made to change in the hall as opposed to in bathrooms or private rooms. Both these factors rang alarm bells in Kandasamy’s head, and he took immediate, strict action.
“Luban Kumar had purposely removed the doors of all the bathroom stalls where the girls bathed,” he told The News Minute, adding that “His room was attached to this bathroom and he would open a window to see the girls showering. In addition to this, he had set up a CCTV camera in the hall where they changed and would watch from his room.”
According to reports, when a girl took the courage to speak up against this abuse to his wife, Mercy, she sent Luban’s brother to beat up the girls till they promised to keep mum.
Upon hearing this, Kandasamy shifted all the girls to a government home. When they were confident about being in a safe place, they opened up the IAS officer. Amongst other things, Luban Kumar would also ask the girls to come to his room at night and made them give him “a massage.”
The collector immediately lodged a complaint against Luban Kumar, Mercy and Luban’s brother, at a police station in Tiruvannamalai, under the Juvenile Justice Act and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO). Subsequently, the missionary home was also sealed.
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Just this week, Kandaswamy also saved a 17-year-old P Vidhya from child marriage. The minor had approached the IAS officer with the news that her family was forcing her to get married to a 25-year-old tailor, but she wanted to continue with her studies.
Not only did he stop the wedding from taking place, but also convinced Vidhya’s mother to let her continue her studies and provided Rs 3 lakh for her undergraduate course in nursing.
It is dedicated IAS officers like KS Kandasamy who truly restore our faith in the Indian administration.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)