National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Friday took suo motu cognisance of reports of an alleged abuse of minor girls at a shelter home in Tamil Nadu and issued notices to the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police calling for a detailed report in the matter within four weeks.

Police in Tamil Nadu’s Tiruvannamalai district arrested a government-recognised children’s shelter home following allegations that he sexually assaulted inmates. The shelter home has been reportedly sealed and 15 children shifted to a government home.

The manager, identified as 30-year-old Vinod Kumar, was arrested under section 35A (sexual harassment) of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and 8, 11 (sexual harassment upon a child) of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) on Wednesday night. The manager allegedly showed the girls pornography and sexually assaulted them.

Reports say that the incident came to light on 26 January during a programme on safety of children organised at a government home.

Quoting Deputy Superintendent of police K Annadurai, the News Minute reports that the girls were asked to write down their problems on paper.

“That is when a couple of girls mentioned the manager at this private home and accused him of molesting them,” Annadurai said, adding that the girls were all between the ages of 11 and 17.

On 30 January, the District Collector sealed the home.

In its observation, NHRC said that the incidents of sexual abuse of innocent minor girls at the hands of their custodian are shameful and also call for review of the monitoring mechanism by the state authorities.

“The police and the social welfare departments of the states have to come together to ensure strict compliance of the procedure laid down under law with regard to running Shelter Homes, especially for the women,” the NHRC said in a statement.