The Delhi government has urged police to provide round-the-clock security at the “safe house” for interfaith or inter-caste couples after staff at the facility reported being “threatened” by them. close to men and women. to shelter.
Delhi Police sources said that after receiving a communication from headquarters, staff are deployed in three shifts to ensure the facility is not left unattended. In March 2018, the Supreme Court ordered states and Union territories to provide shelter to couples, married or not, threatened by families and khaps opposed to their relationships.
It is learned that the issue of threats was first raised in March at a meeting involving representatives of the Delhi Social Welfare Department, which is globally in charge of the establishment, Delhi Police, the Delhi Commission for Women and Vault Supervisors. to house. The Delhi Secure Home, which can accommodate three couples at a time, was opened late last year.
“The superintendent as well as the welfare officer of the hostel for the blind, who took care of the basic safe house arrangements, said they were facing threats as well as security concerns from the share of parents and guardians of couples. Along with this, couples also share that they have death threats from family members. “
“It was recognized that the police department was responsible for ensuring the safety and security of couples in the safe house and outside the complex, as well as government officials who work in the safe house. Since then, he has been informed by the superintendent and the welfare office of the hostel for the blind that there is no regular police security, “24 hour” security should be provided in the “house”. safe “by Delhi police,” a document said of the proceedings.
When contacted, a senior official from the welfare department said the security aspect of the safe house was handled entirely by the police. “The welfare department manages the house in terms of providing meals, counseling and medical care,” the official said, acknowledging that the threats are a matter of concern.
“These couples are in distress. The very fact that they have to take refuge in the shelter is due to threats from their families. It is therefore not surprising that they are also threatened in the establishment. And it is the duty of supervisors and staff to alert whenever this happens and the police to provide protection, ”the official said.
Since opening, the Delhi Safe Home has so far housed around eight couples, including other states such as distant Gujarat and neighboring Uttar Pradesh. Social Welfare Department records also indicate that “the majority of requests for accommodation are received from couples, who are not both residents of Delhi.”
According to guidelines developed by the department, couples receive free legal assistance from the Delhi State Legal Services Authority. The women’s helpline 181 also takes calls from couples in distress.
The SC order was made during the hearing on a petition filed by the NGO Shakti Vahini.