Govt to probe orphanage abuse

CM promises justice to sexual exploitation victims

After appointing an administrator last week, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Monday said the government is constituting an inquiry committee to probe the allegations of sexual exploitation of children at Arya Orphanage in central Delhi.

“We have ordered an inquiry. The inquiry committee will find out the real reasons so that we can go deep down into the issue and take preventive actions in future,” Dikshit said while speaking on the side lines of a function organised at her residence. The members of the committee will be decided on Tuesday, she added.

Earlier, four persons were arrested in connection with the alleged sexual abuse of children in the orphanage, including a 13-year-old boy who was presented before the Juvenile Justice Board.

The post-mortem report of an 11-year-old girl who died at the orphanage revealed that she had been raped following which a case was registered and investigation taken up.

At least, three boys from the same orphanage told the police that they too have been sodomised by some of the staff.

Child rights activists call for zero tolerance

With the increasing number of child abuse cases in Delhi, 23 NGOs and six civil rights groups raised serious concerns over the failure of the existing child protection system.

They called for zero tolerance of any form of abuse and neglect and stressed on the need for a strong redressal mechanism for children in need of protection.

Child rights activists and former Child Welfare Committee members questioned the state government’s role towards protecting children.

“The Arya Orphanage case came to light on February 10. What has the government done in past 10 days? They have suspended three employees of the orphanage and booked them under a bailable section. Can we place over 1,700 children under Arya’s care after hearing the horror stories? Immediate action should have been taken against the owner of the orphanage,” said Bharati Ali, founder HAQ: Centre for Child Rights.

Rakesh Senger from Bachpan Bachao Aandolan, said these incidents are not ordinary: “This matter should be taken up by the CBI’s special team. The chairman of the trust should also be investigated. Children must be encouraged to give their statement in front of the High Court.”

Swami Agnivesh said there is a need to revamp government policies and increase CWC’s accountability. Bharati Sharma, former CWC member said: “We need to have a penalty clause under the law which punishes orphanages which are not registered.”

Lack of proactive measures by the National Protection for Child Rights and Delhi Protection for Child Rights has reduced protection mechanisms to a formality, she added.

Their demands include a protocol to ensure necessary and immediate action against child abuse, formation of a government task force to cater to such issues, a special cell to monitor activities, compulsory registration of orphanages under the Juvenile Justice Act, and penal provision for punishing the management of institutions in case of abuse towards children among others.

These points will be presented to Delhi government soon for immediate action and implementation.

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