Indian police have rescued at least 15 minor girls from a private shelter home in Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, where they were allegedly being sexually abused, says a report in the newspaper The Hindu. The girls, all minors, have alleged that they were forced to watch pornographic content by the manager of the shelter home before sexually abusing them.
The crime came to light during a two-day sensitisation programme called "Big World" conducted by the state police and Child Protection Unit of the state.
"A child, who was admitted to the Arunai Children's Home a year ago, alluded to incidents of sexual abuse in her feedback form. Preliminary investigations revealed that one, Vinod Kumar, had abused the children by showing them films with strong sexual elements", District Collector K.S. Kandasamy said during a media briefing.
Earlier, the district police rescued 69 similarly exploited children from two shelter homes during a search operation in the area. Police claimed that they have arrested five people in connection with the cases.
The search was conducted after India's Ministry of Women and Child Development ordered a country-wide audit of children shelter homes last year, in wake of a case in the eastern state of Bihar, where over 20 girls were being sexually abused most likely over years inside a shelter home.
The ministry has so far ordered to close down 539 institutions on account of non-compliance with provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act. The ministry commissioned a mapping exercise to ascertain the number of Child Care Institutions (CCIs) in 2015. As per the report of the mapping, out of 9,589 homes covered, only 3,071 homes were found to be registered under the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015.