India

NHRC issues arrest warrant against Goa Home Secretary for non appearance with requisite report in a child sexual exploitation case

BeyondHeadlines News Desk

New Delhi : In an unprecedented order, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) directed the Chief Secretary, Government of Goa “to arrest and bring the said Secretary, Home Department, Government of Goa before the Commission on 19.9.2018 at 12:00 Noon and return the warrant duly executed on or before 12.9.2018 with an endorsement certifying the day on which and the manner in which it has been executed or the reason why it has not been executed”. The order of the NHRC is available at http://www.nhrc.nic.in/display.asp?fno=19/5/2/2014

The NHRC informed Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) today about its latest direction as the complainant of NHRC Case No. 19/5/2/2014 pertaining to child sexual abuse, exploitation and torture by the owner of Moonlight Circus and his accomplices in the coastal State.

In its proceedings on 13 July 2018, the NHRC had issued conditional summon to the Home Secretary to appear before it in person 11 am on 28 August 2018 along with the requisite reports. As neither any report was submitted nor did the Home Secretary appear in person as directed, the NHRC issued the unprecedented arrest warrant.

“This is the first time that such a senior officer has been issued arrest warrant by the NHRC and this is a significant step to address child sexual abuse cases and rehabilitation of rescued children by the NHRC.”-stated Mr Dilip Chakma, Legal Officer of the ACHR.

On 9 April 2014, ACHR filed a complaint against alleged sexual abuse and exploitation, and torture of minor boys and girls by the owner of Moonlight Circus identified as Abdul Khan and his accomplices under Margao police station of Goa. Three girls escaped from the circus in Margao in January 2014 and one of them reported the matter to the police. The police arrested five accused including the owner of the circus, Abdul Khan for rape and human trafficking. The police later rescued 18 victims including six minor girls, eight minor boys and four adults who were employed by the Circus when they were minor. The victims were mostly from Assam, Orissa and West Bengal.

Taking cognizance of the ACHR’s complaint, the NHRC on 23 April 2014 issued notice to the Chief Secretary of Goa calling for a report within six weeks. But the Chief Secretary failed to submit any report. On 28 August 2014, the NHRC decided to issue a final reminder calling for reports within four weeks.

The NHRC in a series of orders directed the Secretary, Home Department, Goa to submit (i) copy of the charge sheet/ final report of case crime No. 126/2014 dated 1.3.2014 under Sections 370, 344/34 IPC, Section 26 of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, Section 7 (8) Goa Children Act, Section 16 of Bonded Labour Act registered at Police Station Margao; (ii) the steps taken for rehabilitation of all the rescued children, and (iii) medical examination reports and statements of all the rescued children.

In its report dated 21.4.2017, the Government of Goa intimated about the charge sheet filed under various provisions but failed to submit details of the rehabilitation of the rescued children. Since 12 September 2017, the NHRC has issued various directions to the Home Secretary to submit details of steps taken for the rehabilitation of all the rescued children.

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