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Rise in child abuse in Mizoram: Rights body

Guwahati: A rights body on Wednesday claimed that there has been an alarming increase in child abuse as well as juvenile delinquency in Mizoram.

Although the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act has been enacted more than a decade ago, the statutory support services namely the Juvenile Justice Boards and the Child Welfare Committees in Mizoram have been set up in all the eight districts only during 2010-11, the group pointed. These were stated in a report, ‘State of Juvenile Justice in Mizoram’, by the human rights activist group Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR).

The report stated that sexual abuse of children remained high, with a study commissioned by the Social Welfare Department of Mizoram government and released in October 2012 recording 630 cases of child sexual abuse during the period of 2003 to 2009.

Most cases of child sexual abuse were committed by relatives, friends and teachers of the victims.

The ACHR report also maintained that juvenile delinquency remained 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’, ACHR director Suhas Chakma said.

The Mizoram government has failed to utilize the grants under Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) provided by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, the report claimed. It further said there are 28 recognized Children Homes in Mizoram and almost all of them are either privately owned or run by faith based organisations.

The ACHR report also claimed that children are subjected to abuse and torture in many of the Homes.

On July 13, 2009, a 13-year-old child identified as Lalnunpuia, son of Rinsanga of Chaltlang Lily in Aizawl, was allegedly 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 ACHR but the particular murder shows the violence against children who require the outmost care,’ Mr Chakma said.

The ACHR, in its report, has recommended to the Mizoram government to establish the new Special and Observation Homes sanctioned by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in the districts not having such homes; ensure judicial utilisation of funds within the financial year; ensure segregation of juveniles and children as per age and nature of offences; provide educational and vocational training facilities both within and outside the Homes, among various recommendations. (UNI)

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