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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Shakti Vahini email blocked, NCPCR writes to Yahoo

Shakti Vahini said they have lost access to all their data of the past two decades and have had to stop all work.

Written by Dipankar Ghose | New Delhi | Updated: December 23, 2020 2:08:00 am
On Twitter, NCPCR Chairperson Priyank Kanoongo said, “I hope that Yahoo India and Yahoo will compliance with law of land.”

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights has written to Yahoo India seeking immediate corrective action after the NGO Shakti Vahini — that works on child sexual abuse cases and child protection — was locked out of its email id after they sent a complaint with a video to NCPCR.

Shakti Vahini said they have lost access to all their data of the past two decades and have had to stop all work.

Last week, Shakti Vahini received a complaint of a child sexual abuse case from Maharashtra, which had a video attached. Members of Shakti Vahini said that as per procedure they wrote to NCPCR, asking for the registration of a case under POCSO Act. As NCPCR asked for evidence to be attached, they sent the video to the Commission, but soon found that Yahoo India had blocked their email account “because of violation of terms of service of Yahoo mail”.

Brought to NCPCR’s attention, the Commission has written a letter to Yahoo India on December 21, stating that “this has resulted in a complete stop of work for them (Shakti Vahini) and all their data of the past two decades has vanished. This has created extreme difficulty in carrying out its daily work of child services and child rights protection”.

NCPCR wrote, “It is pertinent to note that section 19(7) of POCSO Act, 2012 provides for protection to the person reporting offence of the Act. In view of the above the Commission under Section 44 being the monitoring body for POCSO Act requires you to kindly consider this matter and unblock their email account immediately.”

On Twitter, NCPCR Chairperson Priyank Kanoongo said, “I hope that Yahoo India and Yahoo will compliance with law of land.”

Calling the action “arbitrary”, Ravi Kant, President of Shakti Vahini said, “This action has completely stopped our work and all our data of the last two decades have just simply vanished. If NGOs or frontline responders are victimised or prevented from lodging complaints, the fight against child sexual abuse is going to get weakened… This incident also raises the question of protection of law to the frontline responders. Though Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 provides the necessary legal framework, a clear standard operating protocol needs to be operationalised. The NGOs working on these issues should be provided protection. The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights as the monitoring agency should frame a Standard Operating Protocol.”

The Indian Express reached out to Yahoo India representatives, but no comment was forthcoming.

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