Thirty-nine girls and some women ran away from a government-run shelter home in Punjab’s Jalandhar. While 35 were brought back to the facility safely, four were missing, officials said.
The girls were mostly those below 18 years who had unsuccessfully eloped. They were living under government protection at the shelter home.
“As per law, when they turn adults, they have to approach court, which then gives its consent to let them go. There are some who have turned 18 and want to be set free,” district programme officer Maninder Singh Bedi said, adding all of them were brought back on the promise that their cases would be looked at urgently.
Some of those who ran away from the shelter home alleged that despite having turned 18, they were not allowed to leave the government facility. “It involves legal processes and we have assured them of help,” the officer said.
Officials said not all those who left the facility were over 18 and many also left with different complaints.
“The shelter home has 81 girls. 39 had escaped and four are still missing. They told us that they held a strike alleging improper behaviour of the staff,” Jalandhar police officer Jagjit Singh said.