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Women in shelter allege abuse and baby selling

By Harmeet Shah Singh, CNN
updated 5:50 AM EDT, Fri June 8, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • There is evidence that suspects sold newborns to childless couples, authorities say
  • The arrests were made after residents complained
  • The incident occurred at a shelter in northern India

New Delhi (CNN) -- Seven people were arrested on allegations of abusing women and selling newborn babies at a destitute shelter they ran in northern India.

The arrests were made after a raid last month by India's child rights watchdog at the Apna Ghar (Our Home) shelter, said Dharna Yadav, a deputy superintendent of police in Haryana state.

The arrests were made after residents complained, Yadav told CNN.

Police found evidence that the owner of the protection house sold newborns mostly to childless couples, said Yadav.

More than 100 residents were taken from Apna Ghar after a raid on May 9.

Most of them were female residents, ranging in age from newborns to 55 years, Yadav said.

Some of them complained to a separate investigation team appointed by a court, that police too were involved in their sexual exploitation at the shelter.

"We are not ruling out anything, but what we need is strong evidence before we make a further headway in these allegations in the case. There will be no laxity on our part, but these allegations have to be supported by evidence," Yadav said.

But court-appointed investigators expressed their shock after interviewing the people taken from the shelter.

"I have been doing work related to child welfare for seven to eight years now. But I haven't seen this kind of torture or sexual exploitation anywhere in my life," said Utsav Bains, member of the probe team.

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