BeyondHeadlines News Desk
New Delhi: Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) while releasing its report “State of Juvenile Justice in Mizoram” (http://www.achrweb.org/
Sexual abuse of children remains high. A study commissioned by the Social Welfare Department of Mizoram government and released in October 2012 recorded 630 cases of child sexual abuse during the period of 2003 to 2009.
It is clear that children are not safe anywhere in the state as most cases of child sexual abuse were committed by relatives, friends and teachers of the victims.
Juvenile delinquency remains equally high. During the last decade from 2002 to 2011, the National Crime Records Bureau under the Ministry of Home Affairs recorded a total of 1,699 cases of “juvenile delinquency” in Mizoram. These include 1,258 cases registered under the Indian Penal Code and 441 cases under the Special and Local Laws.
“Mizoram has failed miserably in providing institutional care. The lack of separate Special Home and the poor facilities in the existing Observation Home-cum-Special Homes at Aizawl and Lunglei, overcrowding, lack of segregation of the juveniles on the basis of the nature of their crimes severely undermine the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act”, stated Suhas Chakma, Director of Asian Centre for Human Rights.
The Observation Home-cum-Special Home at Lunglei is overcrowded and facilities are poor. The Home has a capacity to house only 10 inmates (boys only). The Officer-in-Charge took the initiative of adding 4 extra beds for the inmates as sometimes number of inmate increases beyond the capacity. However, many a times the inmates exceeded 14 and in such situations the inmates had to sleep on the floor. Ironically, Mizoram government has failed to utilize the grants under Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) provided by the Ministry of Women and Child Development. On 6 July 2012, Mizoram informed the Project Approval Board under ICPS that Rs 75.25 lakhs was lying unspent from the grants of 2011-12. Further, the State government informed that it had received construction grant for 2 Government Homes in 2011 but this grant was still unutilized.
There are 28 recognized Children Homes in Mizoram and almost all of them are either privately owned or run by faith based organizations. As majority of the Children Homes are run through charity and children are admitted without the consent of the Child Welfare Committees, the lack of supervision by the state government is responsible for poor conditions of the Children Homes. The First Step Children Home, Aizawl is inhospitable for small children and the Home’s authorities have decided to close it down but the state government is yet to take a decision about it.
Children are subjected to abuse and torture in many of the Homes. On 13 July 2009, a 13-year-old child identified as Lalnunpuia, son of Rinsanga of Chaltlang Lily in Aizawl, was beaten to death by the officials at the Herald for Christ’s Children Home, a government recognized Children Home at Lungleng, about 15 kms north of Aizawl.
“The NHRC has awarded compensation of Rs 300,000 to the mother of Lalnunpuia based on the complaint filed by Asian Centre for Human Rights (http://www.nhrc.nic.in/