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Updated: August 27, 2015 05:47 IST
A study by the students of Social Work Department of Loyola College has resulted in a non-governmental organisation filing petitions in the Madras High Court demanding a CB-CID probe against a couple of children’s homes in the State.
The students visited around 25 homes in various parts of the State. Their visit to a couple of homes in Tiruchi and Madurai revealed that the homes were not registered and were also exploiting the children. The students found that the homes had installed numerous surveillance cameras. During their conversation, they found that “the children were behaving like puppets” repeating the same stories.
In the home in Tiruchi, the inmates were predominantly teenage girls who maintained that they hailed from the Usilampatti area and were saved by the pastor of the home from being killed by their parents. According to V. Vikash Christyraj, one of the interns, the girls said they did not know their parents but were told by the persons working in the home and the pastor that they had been saved by him from death.
In the home in Madurai, Mr. Christyraj said he found some children were mentally challenged, shabby and malnourished. The home housed boys up to the age of 10. Girls had to share their rooms with boys, he noted in his report. He found that both the homes were unregistered.
Changeindia.org, an NGO, had sent this report to the Chief Secretary and Secretaries of the Departments of Social Welfare, Home, Prohibition and Excise, Commissioner of Social Defence, the Director-General of Police, the respective District Collectors and the Commissioners of Police. An appeal was also sent to the CB-CID to investigate the homes.
The NGO’s director, A. Narayanan, said though the letters were sent on July 31, there has been no response so far. Recalling the earlier efforts to bring the issue up, he said the Department of Social Welfare and State Commission for Child Rights provided different statistics in the counters filed in the court on various dates.
The statistics regarding the number of child care homes identified, registered/unregistered or closed down were inconsistent. Sometimes there was no information on the number of government homes under the Directorates of Social Welfare, Social Defence.
Child rights activist K. Shanmugavelayutham said since various departments run homes, there is no single monitoring agency to check these facilities. Even schools run hostels and these come under the purview of the School Education Department.
A couple of homes in Tiruchi and Madurai were not registered and were also exploiting children