Two teenaged girls staying in a shelter facility for homeless children,run by NGO Prayas founded by former Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights chairperson Amod Kanth have alleged that a manager of the home made them do her personal work and denied them food as punishment.
The Child Welfare Committee (CWC) Lajpat Nagar has ordered police to register a case of child abuse against the manager.
One of the teeangers is five months pregnant. Both girls,in a statement before the CWC on April 17,had alleged that the manager made them spend the night of April 12 outside their dormitory and denied them food.
They alleged that the manager made the children clean her room and clothes and if anyone refused they would be scolded.
As per the CWC order,the pregnant teenager alleged that the manager made her sit outside on the stairs because she refused to remove her jewellery. The teenagers also said that before they appeared before the CWC on April 24,another senior manager of the home had advised them not to reveal these incidents.
The CWC had issued a notice to the manager to appear before them on May 8.
As per the order,the manager admitted to punishing the children by keeping them hungry and out of the dormitory. The CWC claimed that she also told them that she got her pedicure and manicure done by children but paid them money. She denied that she got other work done by them. The CWC order termed this as a clear case of physical and emotional abuse and exploitation of children,which amounts to cruelty, and directed SHO,Ambedkar Nagar,to conduct necessary investigations for taking action against the accused as per law.
The CWC order said it was shocking that an institution of repute like Prayas was ignorant about the legal requirement of putting a child-friendly mechanism in place, and noted there was no management committee in the institute where such grave issues could be dealt with,as per the Delhi Juvenile Justice Rules,2009.
The order noted that in 2010,some children from the institute had complained of being beaten up by a counsellor and the CWC had referred the matter to the police for action. Still,there is no improvement in the working of the institution in handling children.
Prayas home director Arun Grover said: There is no question of abuse,and we will give our rebuttal to CWC… (the manager) is also a young resident manager who is 23-24 years old. How can she abuse these teenagers? These girls stayed with us for one-and-half months. They had run away from home and police brought them here. They have now been restored to families. We have a beauty training course,so to sharpen their skills,the girls had themselves requested that they do (the managers) manicure and pedicure and she even paid them for it.