Thursday, February 21, 2013

midnight rescue of a brutalized girl-child! SNEHALAYA’s CHILDLINE in action

On 14th February, Snehalaya’s Asst. Secretary Anil Gawade was awakened near midnight, by a frantic telephone call from a concerned citizen Vikas Gandhi. The caller sought Snehalaya’s urgent intervention to stop the brutal torture of 11 year old girl Sonali Bhoite by her own aunt Surekha More in the Dhavne Vasti of Ahmednagar.  Anil instantly alerted Snehalaya’s CHILDLINE whose on-call services are available 24 X 7. Snehalaya’s CHILDLINE’s night-duty officers Somanth, Ramesh & Vrushali swung into action to rescue Sonali.  The terrified child’s agonized screams shattered the stillness of the peaceful night. The cruel aunt was viciously thrashing the defenseless child after stuffing Red Chilli powder into her eyes & tender private parts. Sonali’s only fault was apparently not doing house-work well enough! Which raises the question - what house-work services are required at midnight? Or were there other hidden ulterior motives for such horrendous child-abuse? Nevertheless, within an hour, the battered girl was rushed to the Civil hospital for emergency treatment. The team stood vigil till the child’s admission to the Pediatric Ward. Anil & Shahid took custody of Sonali’s younger siblings hiding out in the neighborhood. With police assistance, Surekha was arrested the next day. The tragic episode didn’t end here. On 15th February, the Observation home Superintendent Kulkarni condescendingly refused to provide shelter to Sonali’s siblings. Hence Snehalaya lodged a complaint with the District Women & Child Development officer Mr. Chandrashekhar Pagare, who immediately provided shelter to the distressed children. Sonali was eventually discharged from the hospital on 20th February after painful convalescence.  Snehalaya’s representatives accompanied her to the Child Welfare Committee, and finally all the three innocent kids were provided shelter at the District Probation & After-Care Association. Thanks to the dedication and persistence of the CHILDLINE team, these helpless children are now in safe hands, content knowing that help from Snehalaya is just a phone-call away.

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