Despite a court order having asked for their release in May, the 133 women staying at the Navjeevan Mahila Vastigruh in Mankhurd have still not been released due to the lack of police personnel to escort them.
Officials from the Women and Child Development Department (WCD) confirmed the women could not be released as the police did not provide them with an escort service, which is a must as per the court order.
These 133 women were rescued from bars and brothels across the city early this year on different occasions. Aged 18-40, they hail from various parts of the country.
Of the 133, 82 girls are from Kolkata, 14 from Karnataka and the rest come from Bngladesh, Nepal, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Bihar, Odisha, Assam and Gujarat. Two women are from Mumbai itself, while three others from Navi Mumbai, Jalgaon and Buldhana.
A source from the shelter home said, “They were expecting to be released on Eid and then on Diwali, but that didn’t happen. Now, Bal Thackeray’s demise has further postponed it.”
The shelter has the capacity to house 100 women, but overcrowding has lead to several problems with regard to food supply, toilets, etc. It was in the news recently when 17 women fled it in September, and 33 more in October.
District WCD officer AM Khadagle said, “We could release these women if we have enough police personnel to escort them.”