Bungmati, August 10:

Three girls, aged between three and 10 years, and a mentally-ill woman, whom a deranged man of Bungmati ward number 1 had kept like animals in three filthy huts, were rescued today with the joint efforts of the Child Workers in Nepal Concerned Centre (CWIN), Legal Aid and Consultancy Centre (LACC), and the Bungmati Women’s Cell. Maila Shakya had been keeping them in three filthy huts in the middle of a rice field and giving them stale food.

He told reporters and social workers at his shelter that he was not doing any crime by feeding the orphans and providing them with a shelter. Asked why they were chained like animals, he said, “I do not want them to go too far.” He verbally abused the rescue team, and called the villagers for help. “I am taking care of these poor girls who were abandoned on the streets. It is my responsibility to look after all the poor and deprived children.” When a policeman approached him, a furious Maila calmed down and unlocked the chain tied to the 10-year-old girl, saying, “I am relieved to have the police around.”

According to his neighbour, Yubak Bajracharya, Maila feeds the children and woman stale food. Bajracharya said: “The villagers had driven Maila out of Bungamati because he used to behave abnormally with orphans.” Locals said Maila, who works as a potter, has a wife and three sons in Bungmati.

“He brings mentally-ill women from the streets for “nursing” and sexually abuses them,” they said. Among others, he has brought a girl, who was wandering in a street, and a two-month-old baby girl from the nearby Chaukhe.

Bharat Adhikary, the programme officer of the CWIN Hotline, said the CWIN visited the site a year ago on a tip-off, but found nothing wrong there.