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Anchorage case

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Anchorage case

Anchorage caseOne phone call from a child on 1098, 5 years ago finally resulted in a historic verdict, Additional Sessions judge P. S Paranjpe on Saturday, 18 March 2006, convicted Duncan Grant and Allen Waters, ex-British Royal Navy members to a maximum sentence of 6 years of rigorous imprisonment for offences related to unnatural sex and abuse of children in the Anchorage shelter homes that the two man ran in Mumbai.

The two man have been fined 20,000 pounds each, of which Rs 5 Lakh will go towards the rehabilitation of the two boy who were residents of Anchorage and whose testimony in court was crucial to the case.

Anchorage caseThe court also held William Micheal D'souza ( manager of the Shelter Home ) guilty for aiding and abetting the crime and assaulting the children. He has been sentenced to 3 years of imprisonment.

In a thumping, landmark order judge Paranjpe said that he intended the verdict to send a clear message to paedophiles all over the world that India is not a destination for them. He hoped that the sentence would go a long way in wiping India off the map of international sex tourism.

For Childline, the judgement marked the closure of a 5 year period of struggle, as we collaborated and wrestled in unpredictable turns with the low enforcement agencies of Mumbai to deliver justice to the children of Anchorage.

Anchorage caseDuncan Grant set up the Anchorage Shelter Home in Colaba in 1955 which Waters visited frequently. Grant lived with a group of 25-30 children (mainly those working on the streets) and overtime he set up two shelters in the Murud and Badwar Park areas. Foreign tourists visited the homes regularly and boys would be sent off with them as city guides. Grant, Waters and their international network of friends gave expensive gifts to the boys.

While rumours were rife among NGO's volunteers visiting the shelters and street children of the area of sexual abuse of boys in the shelter, there was no evidence that could have tipped off an investigation.

In October 2001, CHILDLINE received several calls reporting abuse of children from the Anchorage shelter home. In the same month, we along with our partners organisation, attended to critical medical emergencies, including a death, of children living in Anchorage. The events set us off on a tough and long journey of investigation and legal recourse, culminating in a landmark judgement against child sex abuse.

As media reports pour in, we would like to acknowledge the strength and courage of Ms. Meher Pestonjee, write who met the children and assisted in video recording and pursuing the matter, Ms Mahroukh Adenwallah (child rights activist and human the case) and special public prosecutor, Vijay Nahar, In taking the case to resounding, progressive judgement against paedophilia in India.

There were many moments of frustration and challenge:

  • Witnesses turned hostile. Duncan Grant and his associates were hooked on to powerful cartels of money and power and made many (successful) attempts to bribe the children.
  • Witnesses accused Childline, Ms Adenwalla , advocate Yug Chowdhary and special public prosecutor Vijay Nahar of coercing them to testify against Duncan
  • Grant, Allen Waters and William Micheal D'Souza, manager of the shelter. The police often remained unmoved despite all our efforts
  • A foreign national had been extradited to stand trial in India - a first in India's extradition history. Since a British national has been extradited from New York pursuant to a red corner alert issued by our government, we were aware that the success of our future extradition requests would not be taken seriously by any government if the prosecution were to fail. Childline, therefore, had to push specially to appoint a Special Public Prosector or an experienced Additional Public Prosecutor to take on the challenges of this case and respond sharply to the defence.
  • Some sections of the local media highlighted declining conditions of the Anchorage shelter (funds had stopped for the shelter homes after the case was filed against Duncan Grant) and set off a debate on the ethics of bringing a shelter home to its feet.
The order of the sessions court has clearly addressed the points mentioned below :
  • It has vindicated Adenwallah and CHILDLINE of all accusations made by hostile witnesses and the defence counsel.
  • Judge Paranjpe has specially taken the police to task for 'failing to perform their duty'.
  • He has also constituted a committee headed by Mahroukh Adenwalla (Ms Kalindi Mazumdar and Renu Gavaskar are the other members) to look into the full rehabilitation of the children of Anchorage, prepare a scheme and present it to the principal judge of the sessions court.
  • For the childline national partnership, this judgement goes beyond justice delivered to 5 children. It comes at a time of increasing sex tourism and peadophilia in India, as the country consolidates its links into the global organized business of child sex tourism.
  • The Anchorage case has been a springboard for us to think critically and act substantively towards enforcing child protection norms and standards in all shelter homes for children across India.
  • It also gives an affirmative nod to our constant endeavours against pedophilia in tourism hot spots like Goa and Puri. Above all it reaffirms our belief that sustained campaigns will have positive impact on society

Anchorage caseAnchorage Case History

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