Bhopal: The director of a hostel here was arrested for allegedly raping a 20-year-old deaf and mute tribal girl, a senior police official said today. Ashwini Sharma, director of a hostel for deaf and mute persons in Awadhpuri area, was arrested last night based on the complaint of an inmate who is a resident of Dhar, Bhopal Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Dharmendra Choudhary said.
The complainant alleged that the accused raped her repeatedly during her stay at the hostel over the past three years, the DIG said. She lodged a complaint with Dhar police yesterday and the case was then transferred to Awadhpuri police station, he said. Sharma was arrested under sections 376 (rape), 354 (outraging modesty), 344 (wrongful confinement) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC and relevant sections of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, the DIG added.
Meanwhile, the opposition Congress claimed the hostel was aided by the MP government’s Social Justice Department and demanded a thorough investigation into the incident and a social audit of all such hostels.
The party drew parallels with the Muzaffarpur (Bihar) and Deoria (Uttar Pradesh) shelter home rape cases which have rocked the nation after being unearthed in April-May and August respectively. Inspector General (Intelligence) Makrand Deuskar told reporters today that police will talk to all inmates of the hostel.
He said the accused ran two hostels, one for boys and another for girls. Addressing a press conference, Congress media cell chairperson Shobha Oza told reporters that the party had found that the hostel was funded by the state government.
“The incident that occurred in the hostel at Awadhpuri is like the one which has taken place in Muzaffarpur and Deoria. It’s shocking that deaf and mute girls are not safe in hostels,” Oza said. She hit out at the state government claiming that there was a 532 per cent increase in cases of rape of children in the past 15 years. Oza claimed that a social audit of such hostels would unearth more such cases.