Delhi polls: Activists ask parties to add child issues to poll agenda

NEW DELHI: A group of NGOs and child rights activists have written to the political parties demanding inclusion of safety of children into their agenda for the upcoming assembly polls. In a memorandum sent to the Congress, the BJP and the Aam Aadmi Party, Delhi Child Rights Group has stated that the child protection system vis-a-vis laws such as Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 needs to be strengthened with adequate infrastructure and skilled human resources.

"The functioning of the police and courts are a major impediment in obtaining justice for children," it added. Raj Mangal Prasad, one of the signatories to the memorandum, said the Delhi government's Integrated Child Protection Scheme to provide financial support to structures, services and awareness for child protection was launched in 2009 but it is still not fully functional.

"Child labour, especially domestic labour is rampant and very visible in all parts of Delhi despite the 2006 notifications under the Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act, 1986," he added. Prasad said child protection and other children's issues are yet to become part of the agenda of political parties.

"We, on behalf of children of Delhi, are appealing to the political parties to ensure that, if elected, they will make Delhi a safe place for children and ensure all laws for children are implemented in the right spirit," the activist said. The group has already met with the representatives of AAP and is seeking time from other political parties to push their demand.

Activists cite incidents of child abuse such as 'Baby Falak' and 'the five-year-old Gandhinagar rape victim' to highlight the need for stronger laws.

"The rehabilitation of juvenile in conflict with law has been a complete failure. No care plan has been prepared for children in institutions and special homes. There is no follow-up for children after their release from institutions," said an activist.