On Sunday dozen of drug addict women kept in the drug rehabilitation centre Parwanoo gave slips to the staff of the centre and most of the girls who belonged to Punjab and Haryana have been missing since Sunday.
On Tuesday National Commission for Women took action in the report of incidents seeking a report from the state Chief Secretary.
NWC asked CS to take immediate action and send a comprehensive report on the incident within three days about the whereabouts of the inmate.
It has been reported in local vernacular that dozen of inmates mostly female hailed from Punjab and Haryana, fled from the Parwanoo drug de-addiction centre giving slip to the rehab in the wee hours of Sunday.
Chairperson of NWC Rekha Sharma emphasised the gravity of the situation, calling for a thorough inquiry into why the inmates felt compelled to escape.
She highlighted the prolonged vacancies in the leadership of State Women Commissions in Punjab and Haryana, suggesting a lack of prioritisation of women’s issues in those regions.
While Secretary M. Sudha Devi from the Social Justice and Empowerment Department remained unavailable for comments, a senior official from the Women and Child Development Department said,
“The matter pertains to a drug de-addiction centre, not under our jurisdiction. The Women’s Commission can take cognisance of this case. However, we can elevate the issue to higher authorities. As for action, only the Himachal government can initiate an independent inquiry.”
SP Solan, Gaurav Singh, mentioned, “The security inquiry revealed lapses at the rehab centre, leading to the inmates’ escape. No other criminal offence was found, hence no case was registered.’ Another senior police official, speaking anonymously, clarified, ‘The responsibility for the girls’ safe custody lies with the health department, not the police.”
He said that no case was registered against the rehabilitation centre due to lack of any discernible offence, various departments of the Himachal government have refrained from commenting, citing the issue as beyond their jurisdiction. Notably, the Himachal Pradesh Women’s Commission has been without a head for a year.
The inmate set them free from the Nari Mukti Sewa Kendra at Kamli village and escaped to the nearby forest area. The women were reportedly angry because they were not permitted to talk to their families on the phone.
Gagandeep Singh, owner of the Nari Mukti Seva Kendra Rehab Centre, said, he operates several rehab centres, including one in Parwanoo—the sole girls’ drug deaddiction centre including Panchkula and UP.
Interestingly several inmate didn’t turn up at their homes and their parents are worried about their safety.