Representational image
Representational image

The owner of an ashram in Shukartal here was arrested for allegedly sexually harassing four children and forcing them and others to work as labourers, police said on Friday.

Swami Bhakti Bhushan Govind Maharaj was arrested when he was trying to escape from the ashram, they said.

According to Additional District Magistrate Amit Kumar, a case was registered against the ashram owner and others under IPC sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 377 (unnatural offences), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) and sections 5/6 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

On July 7, a team of childcare helpline and police had rescued eight children from the ashram and later two more were rescued as well. They were aged between seven to 10 years and hailed from Tripura, Mizoram and Assam, he said.

They were produced before the children welfare board. During medical examination, four of the children were confirmed to be sexually assaulted, Kumar said.

Meanwhile, Subdivisional Magistrate Kuldeep Meena recorded the statement of the children.

The district authorities have informed the parents of the victims, officials said.

Bhushan, who established the ashram in 2008, denied the charges, claiming he was falsely implicated in the case.

Bhushan, along with his accomplice Balkishan Mohan Das, was produced in a special POCSO court which sent him to judicial custody till July 23, prosecution lawyer Dinesh Sharma said.

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