Social activist Harsh Mander Thursday said the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) conducted a “surprise raid” on two children’s homes with which he was once associated, demanding to know – among other things – if the children had participated in the anti-CAA protests. “I learnt today that NCPCR descended on a surprise ‘raid’ on two children’s homes in Delhi with which I have been associated in the past, Ummeed Aman Ghar and Khushi Rainbow Home, on October 1. This was led by chairperson of the NCPCR himself,” Mander said in a statement.
NCPCR chairperson Priyank Kanoongo said he wasn’t aware the homes were associated with Mander. “It’s only after reading his statement that I have got to know about it. There are more than 7,000 such homes, and we had gone to them as part of our routine audits,” he said.
On whether the NCPCR asked about children’s participation in anti-CAA protests, he said, “I can only tell you once I have the report in front of me.”
Mander said the body had “four central focuses” in its raids. “The most important was if the children participated in anti-CAA protests. The second was about my association with the homes… The third was on foreign funding. As it happens, Ummeed is entirely funded from Indian donors. Khushi also is largely supported by Indian donors, but has some foreign donors as well. The fourth question was if we had given shelter to any Rohingya children. My colleagues said… we don’t focus on the identity of any child; the only thing important for us is that she or he is homeless and in need of care and protection,” he said, adding that he was no longer “formally associated” with these homes.
On Mander’s allegations that his association with the homes was probed, Kanoongo said, “He can say whatever he wants”.
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