Delhi shelter home owner held for confining, extorting money from couples

DCW, Rekha Sharma
DCW, Rekha Sharma

New Delhi, Jan 30: A Delhi based NGO that provided shelter and protection to young couples facing threats of honour killing was found to be illegally confining couples and extorting money from them, according to the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW).

The commission on Wednesday said that it had conducted an inspection of the shelter home, “Love Commandos”, located in Paharganj on Tuesday, after receiving a complaint from a resident of the home.

The shelter home was also featured on Aamir Khan’s television show ‘Satyamev Jayate’.

“It was observed that the NGO founder was illegally confining and extorting money from the couples behind the facade of providing a ‘safe home’. All the couples were forcefully being charged hefty sums of money as ‘fees’ for staying in the home,” DCW said in a statement.

The commission was also informed that the owner would threaten them with leaking their whereabouts to their families – from whom they had a threat of honour killing – if they ventured out of the shelter home.

“The owner threatened to destroy their documents including their marriage certificates. The residents were forced to stay in the home for at least six months, even if they were ready to go back home or elsewhere,” the DCW mentioned.

According to the DCW, there were four couples, all below the age of 25, who had been staying at the shelter home.

All four married against the wishes of their parents to spouses from a different caste or religion.

“The founder would often get drunk at night and misbehave with the girls, and take away their money. No records were being maintained by the NGO of couples helped in the past and their present condition,” the commission noted.

It was also found that there were no female staff in the home and the male staff used to check the bags and even undergarments of the girls upon their entry into the home.

After the inspection, DCW Chairperson Swati Maliwal immediately contacted the DCP Central who sent a police team to the home and the residents were rescued.

They were then taken to the Paharganj police station and their statements were recorded.

The Delhi Police has also registered an FIR under the IPC in the matter and the owner has been arrested.

“Couples threatened of honour killing in our nation undergo immense trauma. For an NGO to extort and abuse these vulnerable young persons in the name of helping them is extremely shameful and tragic. We shall provide all necessary assistance to them and will support them throughout,” Maliwal said.

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