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A long, endless wait at Ranchi women's remand home

Tuesday May 24, 2011 10:54:21 AM, Nityanand Shukla, IANS

Ranchi: Nagma, a Muslim woman, delivered a baby boy in a Ranchi remand home last month. Her husband, a Hindu, is in jail on charges of rape and abduction filed by her parents after the two married against their wishes last year.

Nagma's parents were informed about the birth of her son in April but they did not come to take her home or to even see the baby. The authorities also informed her husband's elder brother, but he too refused to support Nagma.

Destitute, mentally challenged or facing criminal charges, the majority of the 46 women and girls in the state-run remand home for women here crave to return home to their families. But like in Nagma's case, no one's coming.

Nagma hails from Ramgarh district in Jharkhand. After her husband was sent to jail, a court sent her to the remand home.

"Her parents refused to take her, saying she married against their wishes, and her husband's elder brother refused help saying his brother was in jail," Amita Ekka, principal probation officer of the remand home, told IANS.

Another 16-year-old inmate of the remand home who was granted bail in a penal offence wants to go back to the house of her maternal uncle, but he is not interested.

Her parents died long ago and her maternal uncle adopted her. She was allegedly ill-treated by her uncle's family and was later handed over to police on charges of wrong-doing. But despite the ill-treatment, she still wants to go back to the house of her maternal uncle.

Of the 46 inmates in the remand home, 30 are destitute. Five are mentally challenged, undergoing treatment at Ranchi hospitals.

"A majority of the destitute girls living here do not have correct home addresses. We write to their parents when we get the exact address. Sometimes our men take the girls to those village markets from where they may have got separated from their parents. It works at times," said Ekka.

Ammesha, 13, is another inmate who wants her family back. She was brought here from New Delhi's Nirmal Chayya welfare home. But the hurdle is she only knows the name of her district - Jamshedpur.

The remand home has also helped a few destitute women start life afresh. Around 16 got married in the last seven years. Two managed to get government jobs.

Thirteen girls in the home go to school. "We try to provide a homely environment in the remand home. Apart from providing education, we make arrangements for the treatment of mentally challenged girls," said Ekka.

The Supreme Court's Justice Altamas Kabir is a frequent visitor to the remand home. He even blessed many girls on their marriages at the remand home, said Ekka.

Though some inmates are facing criminals charges, the authorities try to treat them equally.

(Nityanand Shukla can be contacted at




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