Suspended official cites letters, refutes charges

Prejudice

Mankhurd shelter home Claims she wrote to Bangladesh High Commission and NGOs to repatriate women.

Challenging the findings of a two-member committee that had held her at fault for the delay in repatriation of 23 Bangladeshi women lodged at the Navjeevan Sudhar Kendra, suspended probationary officer Neeru Sharma has claimed she sent as many as 17 letters to the Bangladeshi High Commission and NGOs working in Bangladesh to get the women repatriated.

She had been suspended after the committee comprising Superintendent of Police (Traffic) Rashmi Karandikar and psychiatrist Dr Harish Shetty set up by the Bombay High Court following a newspaper report on bad living conditions at the Mankhurd protection home, held her responsible for the delay.

In its report to the HC on November 23, the committee referred to the shelter home as a "living hell" and said Sharma had failed to make any effort to repatriate the 23 Bangladeshi women. It also pointed out foul language used against the inmates, besides laxity in maintaining the official register.

Twenty-three Bangladeshi women have been languishing at the protection home since December 8, 2010. Even after a Magistrate's order to repatriate them, their repatriation is pending. The committee blamed Sharma for delaying the process.

Sharma, in her reply filed on December 1, handed over copies of 17 emails sent at different times since the Magistrate's order.

"After my continuous follow up, Najib Rehman, a Bangladesh High Commission officer visited the protection home on February 15, 2012. Calls were made to relatives of a few inmates and Rehman assured us that steps would be taken to repatriate them at the earliest," Sharma claims in her reply.

A copy of the letter has been accessed from the Women and Child Development (WCD) Commissioner's office.

Terming these letters as "internal communication" between a subordinate and her senior, WCD principal secretary Ujjwal Uke said, "Whatever her (Sharma's) explanation, it would be looked into without prejudice. Sharma's reply was to a showcause notice sent to her. Although the papers have not reached me as yet, eventually I will be looking into them. A decision will be taken once all aspects are looked into."

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