Criminal liability of NGO directors to be explored – Himachal Welfare Minister

Blame game over infamous disability school

Shimla: Rebutting opposition calls seeking resignation of welfare minister Sarveen Choudhary, over the sexual abuse of disabled girls in an NGO run boarding school in a Shimla suburb, the minister on Friday claimed that the organisation was managed by a relative of a congresswomen, wherein other congress leaders had presided over as chief guests.

Choudhary, at a conference call said “those demanding my resignation over the unfortunate incident should first seek the resignation of leader of opposition Vidya Stokes and Sohan Lal, who have been chief guests at the institute.”

Komal, a daughter of Barfi Devi, was the managing director of NGO Prerena who were operating this school for deaf and dumb children. Barfi Devi happens to be a member of congress party who has even headed the Sewa Dal outfit, the minister said.

Other than the four teachers arrested under section 376 (2) of IPC, said Chaudhary, the government was looking at the criminal liability on the part of the NGO directors who had allowed the institute to operated with deficient infrastructure and without proper security for the girls.

She said that there were 20 NGOs registered under Persons With Disability (PWD) Act of which 9 were registered only in 2008.

Even though the minister claimed that registration was done after proper inspection of the premises where such schools operate, Prerena was also one of the 9 institutes registered in 2008.

The government has taken a decision to shut down the school and cancel the registration of the NGO. A sister NGO, Asha Kiran operating in Bilaspur is also being investigated, she said.

With the state having no disability policy, the minister said that it was under preparation and norms regarding necessary infrastructure would be strictly adhered to before registering any NGO under PWD act.

Defending the government, she said that the police administration had done service to society by exposing such a heinous crime. We will ensure that the victims get justice and the culprits are suitably punished, she added.

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