Pundalik Gole, founder of Kavdas orphanage has been arrested after being accused of rape and molestation of the children at his state-recognised orphanage in Shahpur in Thane district, Mumbai.
The black side of the orphanage came to light on August 23 when the state child welfare department visited the orphanage and found four boys and a girl locked up in a dingy room where they ate, slept and defecated. All of them were severely malnourished and had barely the strength to drag themselves across the room. Even eating whatever little they were offered was an effort.
Also Immediately 18 malnourished inmates were rescued from the orphanage and shifted to a state-run welfare home.
And then came another shock — Further investigations carried out revealed that one of the girls in the group was raped repeatedly by the shelter’s founder Pundalik is married to two women.
The Fourteen-year-old girl is in a state of shock. She keeps murmuring, “His touch was bad. His touch was bad.I kept telling him to move away but he kept touching my private parts”.
Life has never been kind to this teenage destitute, but after the very person entrusted to protect her turned predatory, it has left her severely traumatized. She was further shaken by another incident that the accused’s two wives allegedly threatened the girl to retract her statement.
“We are shocked at how an official supposed to be upholding the rights of these children has violated them. The District Women and Child Welfare Department has conducted an inquiry, and recorded statements of the girl who has made shocking revelations that she was sexually molested by the founder” an child welfare official, said.
She added that it has come to light that many more girls at the orphanage have been mishandled by Pundalik.
Officials of the Child Welfare Department, and the Child Welfare Committee who interviewed the victims had filed an FIR of rape and molestation on last friday. Pundalik was absconding ever since an FIR was registered against him. Now Six days after he was finally arrested by Shahpur police and he was produced before Shahpur court and remanded in seven days of police custody.
It’s hard to digest, If this is the situation at one orphanage that has come to light, who can assure that all is well at orphanages in other parts of the state? Will Punishing Pundalik for exploitation of minors at orphanages be enough. Isnt the Society the root cause/culprit behind an orphan.