Taking quick action in the alleged sex racket in a Deoria shelter home for women, the Uttar Pradesh government transferred the district magistrate and set up an investigation team giving it time till Tuesday to present an interim report.

The details of the alleged abuse of girls at the shelter home emerged when a 10-year-old girl managed to flee from there. She reached a police station and informed them about the plight of the inmates.

The UP government said on Monday that the NGO had lost its recognition and government funding one year ago.

Speaking to reporters, UP Women and Child Development Minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi said, “The recognition of the NGO was revoked one year back and funds were stopped. We will probe how it was functioning till now and see who is responsible for this.”

She told reporters that the illegality of the Deoria shelter home was discovered after a CBI inspection conducted in 2017. Joshi said that an order to shift the inmates and shut it immediately was issued.

Read More: After Bihar, it’s UP: 24 girls rescued from Deoria shelter home

The minister said that on 1 August, an FIR was lodged to shut it down after reports of the racket surfaced.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has set up a committee comprising Additional Director General (women helpline) Anju Gupta and additional chief secretary (women’s welfare) Renuka Kumar to immediately visit Deoria, probe the case and present an interim report by Tuesday.

He also suspended Deoria District Probation Officer (DPO) Abhishek Pandey and ordered action against former DPOs Neeraj Kumar and Anoop Singh.

“Many times white, black and red cars used to come and take away the girls. When the returned in the morning, they used to cry,” the girl who escaped the shelter home alleged.

While 24 girls were rescued from the ‘Ma Vindhyavasini Mahila Prashikshan Evam Samaj Seva Sansthan’, 18 girls are still missing. Three people, including manager Mohan Tripathi and his wife Girija, have been arrested.

Superintendent of Police Rohan P Kanay said that the shelter home has been sealed.

“The entire matter will be investigated and the local administration is already taking action. The Women and Child Development Department is also coordinating. The inquiry will be done under proper legal procedure,” ADG Law and Order Anand Kumar said in Lucknow.

The medical test of the children would be made by a woman doctor and the statement recorded before a magistrate, Anand said.

Adityanath has, meanwhile, directed all district magistrates to ensure inspection of children and women shelter homes in their districts and present a report within 12 hours.

The Deoria case emerged after the chilling revelation in the Muzaffarpur shelter home case in Bihar where 34 inmates were allegedly sexually abused in the state-funded shelter home.

(With inputs from agencies.)