Ashram sex scandal: Court seeks to release 48 girls forcefully sent in children’s home


DEHLI: The parents of 48 girls, who were sent to children’s home — Minda Bal Gram in Alipur after the raid at the ashrams of Adhyatmik Vishwa Vidyalaya — have moved the Delhi High Court seeking release of their daughters and other adult females, reported by local Indian media.

The parents in the petition to the court have said that their daughters have been illegally detained despite them being adults, and are being subjected to mental torture. The petition also claims that the process of age verification of the girls is being delayed for unknown reasons.

The petition was moved by a mother of a 19-year-old girl on behalf of other parents through advocate Amol Khokne which claims that she was an active follower of the ashram activities.

The hearing in the matter is on Friday. The girls have also written to the Chief Justice of India (CJI) that they are force-fully-being kept in the children’s home by the Child Welfare Committee (CWC). In the handwritten letter to the CJI, the girls have mentioned that they are being subjected to questions that they are not aware of.

“When we asked the home staff to call our parents, they said that their identities will be verified first.” The girls said,

in the letter, that they were brought to the children’s home on the assurance that they would be kept there just for a day but they had been there for over 13 days.

The petition claims that none of the girls detained was allowed to take their luggage and medicines with them. They complained of dirty bedsheets, shortage of water and soap for bathing and washing clothes.

On December 19, 2018, an inspection team comprising DCW chief, advocates and senior police officials swooped down on an ashram in the city after a group of parents approached the Delhi High Court alleging that the self-styled godman Virendra Dev Dikshit had confined a number of minor girls and women there, and was sexually exploiting them.

The raid at the Adhyatmik Vishwa Vidyalaya in Rohini continued till late in the night with sleuths scouring a maze of rooms in search of victims and shreds of evidence.

The Mail Today in its report had revealed the chilling modus operandi allegedly used by Virendra Dev Dikshit to get parents to send girls to his ashram Allegations also is that the parents of the girls were asked to keep sending donations in large amounts to the Rohini ashram, for the upkeep of their daughters.

The panel sought age verification of the inmates of the ashram, alleging that most of the girls looked like minors.

The high court has now ordered the city government to send a team of doctors to examine each of the inmates at the ashram after the panel said many of the girls were sick and received no medical attention.

It also directed the CWC chairperson to visit the premises and take steps in accordance with the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act.