The police in Deoria town of Uttar Pradesh rescued 24 girls from a shelter home on Sunday, after its licence was revoked following an inspection by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). A man and his wife, managers at the Deoria shelter home, have been arrested.

According to media reports, a girl had earlier escaped from the home and informed the police that residents of the facility were treated like servants.

“When the order to close this institution was made, our people went there and the organisation’s director misbehaved with our team. Today, after a girl escaped from there, we got to the reality of that place. There have been many big disclosures during the investigation. 24 children have been rescued safely so far,” an NDTV report quoted Superintendent of Police Rohan P Kanay as saying.

The girl who escaped also said “cars come to pick girls above 15 years old and the girls come crying the next day”, Kanay was quoted by ANI.

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He identified the arrested couple as Girija Tripathi, the director of the institution, and her husband Mohan Tripathi.

A probe is on and further details are awaited.

Speaking on the matter, UP Women & Child Welfare Minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi told reporters: “After CBI inspection last year, it was established that Deoria shelter home centre was running illegally. A direction was issued to shift the inmates and shut it. But this order was not followed”

She added that an FIR was lodged on 1 August to shut it immediately as “illegal acts were being carried on”. “No. of children enrolled at centre as per records are not present. 1 child was rescued y’day who has filed a complaint. Investigation is underway…” an ANI tweet quoted Joshi.

UP ADGP, Law and Order, Anand Kumar said truth would be brought out. “It’ll be investigated. The concerned district admn is already taking action in this regard. Women & child development ministry is also looking into the matter. The children will be sent for medical examination. Truth will be brought out,” he told ANI.

The incident comes close on the heels of the infamous case of Bihar’s Muzaffarpur where employees of a shelter home were arrested for allegedly sexually abusing the girls here. The police had rescued 44 girls from the home.