A team of National Commission of Protection of Child Rights on Wednesday raided two shelter homes in Ambala district and dismissed state governments claims of having learnt lessons from the Rohtak-based controversial shelter home Apna Ghar episode. Children continue to be kept in shelter homes without adequate facilities and proper documentation.
Haryana might undoubtedly be among the top states as far as economic growth is concerned,but as far as child welfare is concerned,the condition in Haryana is extremely pitiable. The district administration,child welfare committees and various NGOs stand exposed for their insensitive attitude towards children, said NCPCR member Vinod Tikoo,while reprimanding the members of the child welfare committee of Ambala,who were summoned at the shelter homes by the NCPCR team.
At a place that can accommodate only 15-20 children,nearly 50 children were found stacked at a shelter home in Ambala Cantonment,while various administrative anomalies were found at another shelter home located in Khuda Kalan village.
The raids were conducted,following a complaint received by NCPCR at its office in New Delhi,a few days ago. The complainant,purportedly an inmate at a shelter home in Ambala,had alleged sexual exploitation and physical abuse by staff managing such homes for minors.
The NCPCR team headed by Tikoo reached Ambala on Wednesday and raided Mercy Children Home,which was being run by a couple. During the raid,the team found that 50 children between 5 and 15 years were stacked in the four rooms of a rented accommodation.
Shelter home incharge Phillip Lal Masih and his wife,Narinder Kaur Phillip,manage the 50 children without any support from the state government. Both of them stated that despite their repeated refusals,the district administration kept sending children,who were recovered either by the police or were left unattended by their parents.
The NCPCR raided another place Bethel Shelter Home in Khuda Kalan village. The home is managed by Joginder Pal and has around 30 children. This home still appeared better managed and children were also found to be in better living conditions. However,there were certain administrative lapses,for which I have asked the district administration to hold special awareness camps for such shelter home operators in Ambala, an NCPCR team members said.
We keep sensitising such shelter home operators,but due to heavy inflow of such children,certain lapses do remain. We have told the NCPCR team that we will be careful in future, said Rajbala,member secretary of Child Welfare Committee,Ambala.