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20 kids still missing

 

SUNIT DHAWAN IN THE TRIBUNE

NCPCR terms it administration’s failure : Gurgaon shelter home case

It’s a glaring case of apathetic attitude of the authorities concerned towards the functioning of NGOs, including those working for welfare of children. The matter pertaining to Suparna ka Aangan, an NGO shelter home located in Wazirabad village of the district, is a case in point. Even after some schoolteachers exposed the sexual exploitation of minor girls lodged there, the local administration and state authorities have failed to learn a lesson or take corrective measures. An FIR was registered against NGO manager Suparna Sethi and caretaker Rachit and both were sent to jail as the girls’ medical examination the girls revealed that three of them had been raped, while some others had been subjected to physical torture. Further investigations revealed that the shelter home was unauthorised and being run illegally. Investigations made by The Tribune reveal that nearly three months after the matter came to light, there is no clue to the whereabouts of nearly 20 children who were lodged at the shelter home as per its record.

“There were at least 70 children at the shelter home. As the shelter home was sealed, close to 50 children were handed over to their families or sent to some other shelters. However, the remaining 20-odd children are still missing,” maintains Nisha Yadav, the schoolteacher who turned the whistleblower in the case. Fed up with the tardy pace of police investigations, Nisha has demanded a CBI probe into the matter.Nisha pointed out that the police had barely managed to file the challan in the court towards the end of the stipulated 90 days, which was a clear indication of the scheme of things. Sharing her concern, Nishi Kant, executive director of children helpline Shakti Vahini, said they had carried out home investigations of nearly 50 children lodged at Suparna ka Aangan; while around 20 children, who were on record of the NGO, were missing.

On being contacted for his version, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) member Vinod Tikoo termed the entire episode a “complete failure” of the district administration and the local Child Welfare Department authorities. He said when he visited the NGO shelter at Gurgaon as part of the NCPCR team, they were told that some children had gone to their homes. However, no entries to this effect had been made in the record.“Not keeping track of children lodged at the shelter home and poor and improper maintenance of their record is a blunder on the part of the NGO management while exercising poor control over the functioning of such NGOs is a total failure of the district authorities,” said Tikoo.


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