Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Budget for child rights suggested
Hueiyen News Service / NNN


Imphal, August 23 2013 : National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has suggested to have separate budgets by the state governments in the North East for the protection of child rights.

NCPCR member in-charge of North East, VK Tiku said this in Imphal on the concluding day of the two-day state level workshop on "Substance Abuse Among Children" at Hotel Classic here.

VK Tiku regretted that the state governments are not doing enough to safeguard the rights of the children.

"Violation of the right to education leads the children to indulge in drugs and other unwanted substances, and so strict implementation of the right to education is very important," said VK Tiku while talking to media persons here.

He then proposed that schools should start awareness and counseling programmes on drug abuse.

"Next to Mizoram, Manipur is one state very high in the drug abuse cases by children from 18 years to 20 years of age," revealed the NCPCR member.

He lashed out at the law enforcing agencies and authorities concerned in Manipur for not doing enough in thwarting the drug menace in the state.

"The chief minister of the state had assured to stop all these drug trafficking cases in Manipur and let us see how it works out," stated VK Tiku.

Yesterday, Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh had said the easiest way to deal with the problem of mass consumption of tobacco products among minors is to completely ban production and sale of this substance in the country.

Participating in the inaugural function of a two-day state level workshop on "Substance Abuse Among Children" at Hotel Classic here, Ibobi had said that the state Cabinet has already decided to ban sale of all tobacco products in the state and that the law enforcing agencies are constantly seizing these items.

Ibobi had also said, "If we want to completely ban tobacco products, I believe we must completely stop its production" .

The Chief Minister had further suggested that charging heavy taxes or price on these products to make children beyond their capacity to buy them will also certainly help in controlling its abuse.

Ibobi had then assured that the state Government will take up steps to deal with the problem of tobacco use.

NCPCR members VK Tiku (in-charge Northeast) and Dr Yogesh Dubey, and A Nabachandra Singh, Chairperson, Manipur State Commission for Child Rights, Chief Secretary PC Lawmkunga, Principal Secretary for Social Welfare, Barun Mittra participated in the event.


RDPR bodies to be roped in for RTE implementation

By Bharath Joshi | ENS - BANGALORE

Published: 26th August 2013 08:28 AM

Last Updated: 26th August 2013 08:28 AM


The Education Department has made its first concrete attempt to rope in Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) bodies to ensure effective implementation and grievance redressal of the Right to Education (RTE) Act, more than a year after it was implemented here.

A proposal in this regard has been presented to the State government to identify Standing Committees for Education and Health of Zilla Panchayat as the local authority at the district level for various sections of the RTE Act and their corresponding duties.

The Taluk Panchayat (TP) Social Justice Committee has been identified at the taluk level for the same.

Till now, the implementation of the RTE rested with officials of the Education Department, such as Block Education Officers (BEOs), Deputy Directors of Public Instruction (DDPIs) and the School Development and Monitoring Committees (SDMCs).

“There was confusion about the definition and jurisdiction of the local authority under the RTE Act. These committees will also receive complaints and address grievances as per Section 32 of the RTE Act,” said Subodh Yadav, State Project Director, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.

According to the proposal, the Zilla Panchayat Standing Committees on Education and Health will be responsible for providing free and compulsory elementary education to every child, ensuring availability of neighbourhood schools and non-discrimination of children from weaker sections. The Committees will also monitor admissions, attendance and completion of education, provision of infrastructure and  free transportation to children where no school exists and assure quality at the district level.

The only local authority identified at the Gram Panchayat level is the Civic Amenity Committee, which is supposed to maintain records of children up to the age of 14, ensure admission of migrant children and monitor functioning of schools in villages.

“The time frame for grievance redressal and administrative modalities required to support these committees to accept these responsibilities will require association with the RDPR Department at the government level,” Yadav said.

He added that the members of the  Committees would also require training on Right to Education Act.  

‘Lesson Learnt’

An official from the RDPR Secretariat pointed out that education is one of the 29 subjects handled by the Zilla Panchayat bodies.

“This is the first time we will be approached to specifically include RTE. We are very interested in this proposal,” the official said.

Many programmes of the Union government, such as Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and National Rural Health Mission, are implemented through a parallel structure headed by Deputy Commissioners (DCs).

“Perhaps, this is a lesson learnt. There is a need to involve these bodies in matters such as education. Over the last few years, many responsibilities have been taken away from the Standing Committees only to be implemented through the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs),” the official added.


Children learn about their rights

Lakshmi Prakash, TNN Aug 22, 2013, 06.18AM IST


MYSORE: A daylong workshop on 'Child rights and Governance' was organized by Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA) on Wednesday for schoolchildren aged between 6 and 15 years.

The main aim of the workshop was to create awareness among children about the Indian Constitution which accords rights to children as citizens of the country.

Senior KAS officer A B Ibrahim, who is the managing director of Chamundeshwari Electricity Supply Corporation, inaugurated the workshop, and said: "Child rights is a special field, but people have lost interest in it and it is neglected in society. The department of women and child development and education department will have to come forward in educating children about their rights."

IIPA Mysore chapter president, R N Murthy, said: "Children have to know of their rights like the right to education, right to freedom of expression. They have the right to ask. Teachers and parents should explain child rights and special laws that are applicable to them."

A class VI student of Majestic School Dhruva Rani M said: "I didn't know about child rights and special laws applicable to us. This workshop helped us in gaining knowledge in these areas relevant to us."



NEW DELHI, August 22, 2013


Civil society hails changes in Food Bill to protect child rights



Members of civil society organisations and academia on Wednesday welcomed the amendments proposed for removing the clause in Schedule II of the Food Security Bill that insists 50 per cent of food fortified with micro-nutrients should be provided in the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and Midday Meals (MDM) scheme

However, they demanded the introduction of a clause in the proposed Act that centralised industrial production of food in the ICDS and MDM through the entry of private contractors or any entrepreneur, commercial enterprise or company not owned or funded or aided by government shall not be allowed.

A statement, issued by 10 non-governmental organisations working on child rights and 14 academicians, after a joint meeting here, said food distributed in the ICDS and MDM should be locally cooked, produced and processed on a decentralised level in a block or below that level, through community participation.

Examples of Kerala, Odisha and Chhattisgarh had shown it was possible to provide nutritious Take Home Rations in a decentralised, viable and sustainable manner by Self Help Groups (SHG)/ federations of SHGs with a variety of menus and models, the statement said.

Proper infrastructure

“Ensure that safety and hygiene norms for storage, cooking, and distribution are overseen by the Urban Local Bodies and the Panchayati Raj Institutions [PRI]. Necessary infrastructure in this regard should be envisaged and provided for,” the statement said adding the food required for the implementation of the Food Security Bill should be produced domestically using non-Genetically Modified crops. Necessary incentives should be provided to the farmers for increasing domestic production, including decentralised procurement at remunerative prices.

The signatories to the statement include Mira Shiva, Initiative for Health & Equity in Society and Diverse Women for Diversity; Rajib Dasgupta, Associate Professor, Jawaharal Nehru University; Alex George, Knowledge Hub Leader, Child Rights, ActionAid; Radha Holla Bhar, Breastfeeding Promotion Network of India; Deepa Sinha, Right to Food Campaign; PK Jai Somanathan, Member, National Executive Council, Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samithi; Parul Gupta, Right to Education Forum; Oommen C Kurian, ActionAid and Sameet Kumar Panda, ActionAid.

The individuals who have associated themselves with the statement include Veena Shatrughna, former Deputy Director, National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad; V.R. Muraleedharan, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras, Chennai; K.K. Krishna Kumar, National President, BGVS, Thiruvanthapuram; Ravi Duggal, Independent Researcher, Anusandhan Trust, Mumbai; Sehjo Singh, Director, Programme & Policy, ActionAid, New Delhi; Dhruv Mankad, Vachan, Nasik; Ambarish Rai, Convenor, Right to Education Forum; Annie Namala, Centre for Social Equity and Inclusion; Asha Mishra, General Secretary, BGVS; Arun Gupta, International Breastfeeding Promotion Network; J. P Dadhich, Breastfeeding Promotion Network India; Mridula Bajaj, Mobile Creches; J John, Centre for Education & Communication and Sudatta Khuntia, Knowledge Hub, Child Rights, Bhubaneshwar.




BANGALORE, August 22, 2013

Updated: August 22, 2013 20:30 IST

For our children


The Hindu Inadequate and irresponsible health care is the main cause, says Pavitra. Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy


Documentary filmmaker Pavitra Chalam is crowd-funding her film Rooting for Roona not just to raise funds but also to spread awareness about children’s healthcare

The Rooting for Roona campaign, a crowd-funding project, by documentary filmmaker Pavitra Chalam, is for a film to raise awareness about child healthcare. Pavitra is known to work with socially relevant issues. Her team at CurlyStreet Media, a production house founded by Pavitra, is working on their new film, Rooting For Roona. The film is based on the true story of 18-month-old Roona and her family.

Born to a poor family in Tripura, Roona was diagnosed with hydrocephalus, a life-threatening neurological disorder. Her parents Abdul and Fatema gave up hope when doctors said nothing could be done for Roona. But the media’s timely highlighting of her story, got Roona much-needed care due to the intervention of an NGO, a private hospital and the royal family of Tripura, with whom Pavitra and her team got in touch with. After reading about Roona, Pavitra and her team set forth to document her story and to understand her condition. “We stayed by her parents’ side from day one through every major surgery and every procedure including Roona’s most critical surgery – the insertion of the shunt. With them we slowly began to understand the nuances of what it would take to bring Roona back to the way she should be. Together we envisioned her playing and laughing. A normal childhood. This is why our logo is a little girl with a balloon. We imagine Roona will be that girl one day.” writes Pavitra in an e-mail interview.

On further investigation, though, they realised that Roona’s condition was due largely to an inadequate and irresponsible health care system. “Her parents took her to what is considered the best hospital in Agartala, the capital of Tripura, and were clearly told that there was nothing that could be done for her. There is adequate evidence-based medical literature on the treatment of hydrocephalus and the advantages of early intervention. After being brought to Fortis, Roona’s head has reduced in size from 97 cm to 58 cm over a three-month period and she has begun to regain her faculties. If similar treatment had been initiated in the early days of her condition, she would have in all probability been leading the life of a normal girl. This clearly points to the inadequacies of the Indian healthcare system in dealing with children like Roona.” The reasons for the neglect of child healthcare are varied, says Pavitra. “It ranges from poor early identification of the disease, to inadequate expertise and infrastructure at the district or state level. The North-East also has a paucity of good hospitals. Besides, given that India’s basic health indicators such as infant and maternal mortality trail even countries like Bangladesh, not much focus or funding is being provided to treatable conditions such as hydrocephalus.”

Rooting for Roona, Pavitra says, will focus on children with congenital conditions who have not been able to receive proper care. “Hydrocephalus is one of many congenital anomalies. In the wake of Roona’s story coming to light we got in touch with a local daily called Tripura India who have been sharing information with us on the other cases which we hope to capture as well.”

Through the Rooting for Roona campaign, Pavitra hopes to engage people in the cause of child health care. “I also believe that involving so many people in this film will be the best way to get the word out, shape public opinion and influence legislation. Our friends and our loved ones were very clear that they would stand by us. This is exactly why we took this leap of faith.”

Pavitra intends the film to be a call for action. “We will focus on taking this to people who frame policy, independent change agents, NGOs and anyone who cares. We will also be submitting the film to film festivals and television channels. We want this to be a film owned by the public and reach the far corners of the country and the world.”

The team needs 42,000 US dollars, they have raised 30,000 dollars so far, and need 12,000 dollars more. If you would like to contribute to the campaign mail If you would like to send a cheque, write out a cheque in the name of CurleyStreet Media and post or courier the cheque to CurleyStreet Media Pvt. Ltd., G2, Regal Manor, 2/1, Bride Street, Langford Town, Bangalore – 560025. For details call 9739189460. You can follow the campaign on the Rooting For Roona Facebook page or this website:



·         August 21, 2013, 12:00 PM

Where India’s Food Bill Fails Children

Top of Form

By Shailey Hingorani and Allison Hutchings

Schoolchildren ate a free school lunch in Bangalore, July 19.

At a conference in April, India’s Food Minister K.V. Thomas said the country would be known the world over for taking an important step toward eradicating hunger, malnutrition and poverty. He was referring to the National Food Security Bill, which aims to provide very cheap grains to around 70% of the population.

Despite the unprecedented scale of the bill’s agenda, it feels stale.

It is an amalgamation and continuation of previous nutrition and food distribution programs in India, including the Integrated Child Development Services, which was launched in 1974 to provide supplementary nutrition to children up to the age of six. There is also the midday meal program, which came into the spotlight in June when23 schoolchildren in Bihar died after eating a contaminated lunch.

By focusing on food intake alone, these programs have failed to adequately address malnutrition in India. They do little to address children’s different nutritional needs, which vary according to age and gender. Malnutrition is a complex condition with many drivers. Malnourished children need a holistic set of solutions, not just more food.

Nutrition indicators for Indian children under five are dismal. Nearly 43% are underweight, 70% are anemic, and 57% are vitamin A deficient, the World Bank says. These deficits at the start of life continue through adolescence and ultimately compromise health and productivity throughout an individual’s lifetime.

The Food Security Bill, which has been passed by the ruling Congress party as an ordinance and is due to be voted into law during the ongoing session of Parliament, ignores new approaches to tackling malnutrition and instead relies too heavily on the ICDS to meet all the nutritional requirements of children up to the age of six.

The ICDS provides free, age-appropriate meals to children through its anganwadi centers across the country. The World Health Organization says malnutrition encompasses poor feeding practices like inadequate breastfeeding, and persistent infections like diarrhea, which rob children of nutrients. But the ICDS works on the assumption that lack of adequate food intake is the primary driver of malnutrition.

Marginalized groups such as street children and child laborers, who tend to be the most malnourished, are also largely excluded from the ICDS because of its poor targeting of the most vulnerable. The Food Security Bill doesn’t address where this group will source its main nutrition from or how access to healthcare facilities will improve.

Simply distributing food doesn’t ensure that it will get to those who need it most, nor does it ward off infections that preclude children from absorbing the food’s nutrients.

The ICDS also hasn’t been universalized. A Planning Commission report on the ICDS in 2011 found that only half of the children eligible for the program were enrolled in anganwadi centers. The ICDS hasn’t covered as many children as intended.

Instead of addressing shortcomings in existing programs or incorporating successful initiatives like Community Management of Acute Malnutrition, the Food Security Bill uncritically adopts the ICDS and tasks it with eradicating hunger and malnutrition.

CMAM uses community health workers to identify and treat malnourished children. It is a low-cost initiative endorsed both by Unicef and the WHO in 2007. Save the Children tests in Bangladesh in 2010 found that more than 90% of children suffering from severe acute malnutrition in a treatment group recovered as a result of being correctly diagnosed and treated by community health workers.

Establishing a relationship between communities and health workers, creating watch lists of sick children, detecting illness early and using cost-effective high quality care are important policy insights to be drawn from this experience.

The ICDS shouldn’t be the primary vehicle through which malnutrition is addressed in India. But the government, eager to get support as the general election approaches, is trying to push through a populist legislation. It is unlikely to change the status quo.

Solely focusing on increasing food intake has done little to improve the nutritional status of children in India. In its current state, the Food Security Bill will be a whole lot of grain without a whole lot of gain.

Shailey Hingorani is a Fulbright scholar at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and can be followed on Twitter @burntcognac. Allison Hutchings is a Boston-based social policy researcher. This post reflects their personal views.


Special Victims: Law, Order and India's Children

Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013, 12:31 IST

Ingrid Srinath  

How Safe are our Children?


"There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children", said Nelson Mandela. If that's true, India needs to do some urgent soul searching. Nowhere is our attitude to children better reflected than in the way our systems of law and order treat them. 63 years after our Constitution recognised them as equal citizens, 39 years after we adopted our first National Policy for Children and 21 years after we ratified theUN Child Rights Convention (CRC), we have yet to agree on a uniform definition of who exactly is a child. Definitions vary depending on whether it's marriage, work, education, sexual offences, culpability for crimes, adoption or inheritance that's at issue.

Few children of the elite or the middle-class in India have the opportunity to interact officially with the police, the judiciary or the alphabet soup of entities labelled CWC, JAPU, AHTU, JJB, NCLP, CARA, SFCAC, SCPS or NCPCR For the estimated 176 million children who are homeless, orphaned, abandoned, abused, trafficked, bonded, illegally employed, lost, refugees, displaced, accused of a crime or simply poor, on the other hand, the forces of law and order are omnipresent determinants of their fates.

In 2012, CHILDLINE rescued 33,512 children in distress and accompanied them through a process of assessing their situations, exploring options and finding resolution. Most Indian children in need of care and protection, or those in conflict with the law, do not enjoy such a buffer from the vagaries and callousness of the system. Too many are buffeted from exploitation to abuse by officials who view the children under their charge as either, feral beings or powerless victims, and their own roles as either sinecures or chores.

Combine the government's own acknowledgement of 592 child deaths in juvenile facilities between 2006 and early 2010 with the 2011 report from theAsian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) that lists 15 cases of illegal detention or torture, 17 cases of child rape and 21 cases of physical or sexual abuse of children in juvenile facilities that year alone. Add the 39 cases of sexual abuse in juvenile homes documented in the 2013 ACHR report and those reported by Human Rights Watch and others to get a glimpse of the tip of a gruesome iceberg of atrocities. Too many of those sworn to uphold the progressive values of India's constitution, the UN CRC and hundreds of laws enacted to protect children from abuse, exploitation, neglect and exclusion, are among their worst violators. 

Too many of our policemen and women, those who serve on committees, boards and task forces charged with determining children's fates, and those who run juvenile facilities  are underpaid, ill-trained, overburdened individuals who are themselves subjected daily to the arbitrary feudalism that pervades Indian bureaucracy. With impunity for crimes against children the norm, negligible access, and the demographics of the children involved, it isn't hard to fathom why these children will, more often than not, be meted out indignity, insult, callousness and abuse.

It's hardly surprising then that many children prefer the risks of life on the street over the supposed care of a home or shelter.  Or that even caring adults hesitate to report abuse. Children with disabilities, those with HIV/AIDS and those who have been prostituted or trafficked face particular horrors.  Very few institutions will even accept them. CHILDLINE staff members spend many days and nights running from facility to facility begging that these children be housed. All these pale into insignificance, however, in comparison with the atrocities faced by children growing up in those parts of our country we designate as disturbed areas.  Here we grant our security forces untrammelled authority to abuse, rape, abduct, incarcerate, torture and murder. For them, and for the armed groups whose writ runs in these areas, children are easy targets. When children disappear in Manipur, Kashmir or other states with ongoing insurgencies, one can only speculate what fate has befallen them. Abducted by insurgents? Turned into child soldiers? Raped or murdered by our armed forces or by militants? Languishing in a prison? Run away to escape abuse or find work? It seems that no one has the responsibility to investigate or report on those we consider dispensable collateral damage in our internal wars.

At the other end of the spectrum are judges, politicians and bureaucrats who see children as hapless objects of charity who must settle for the crumbs of justice and rights we adults deem appropriate. How else do we explain the continuing exclusion of children of various age groups from coverage under the right to education and the child labour acts? Or the grand total of 1297 prosecutions through 19 years of the PNDT (Pre-Natal Diagnostic Testing) Act? Or the fact that over 3 million inspections by the Labour Department resulted in just 2,16,037 prosecutions and only 23,223 convictions for child labour?  This while the government acknowledges that at least 12 million childrenaged 5-14 years are illegally employed and that a further 75 million are neither employed nor in school. Why were only some 38,000 crimes against children (including foeticide, infanticide, child marriage and child labour) registered at all in 2012 when over 50% of India's children are estimated to experience abuse and the ratio of girl to boy children declines with each measurement?  Explain the peculiar exclusion of boys aged 16-18 years from both, the new law against rape as well as the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) even as the clamour grows to relax the age limit to permit their prosecution as adults. Or the fact that India spends a meagre 0.04% of its national budget on protecting our children and that even these inadequate budgets have been slashed citing failure to expend them.  Or indeed the fact that the Census of India still doesn't enumerate children by the CRC definition. Or that every right for children – survival, development and protection – has taken decades to pass through our legislative machinery and then been, at best, partially granted. Or that, when last reported in 2010, a grand total o2.57% of questions raised in Parliament pertained to children.

Is there reason to hope amidst this pervasive gloom? Decades of advocacy by committed campaigners and support from activist judges have finally enacted many of the laws our children deserve. Activists, NGOs and committed bureaucrats are slowly but surely activating the comprehensive system envisioned under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme and seeking redress under the new Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. Thelaws on child labour are up for further amendment.  An ambitiousdatabase to track all children missing, progressing through the judicial system, or in care, is under way. The rights to education, work and food, despite their lacunae, are helping to alleviate the desperation that is at the root of so many of these problems. The right to information is permitting increased scrutiny of every element of the system. New communication channels and technologies are helping to amplify hitherto silenced voices. Small armies of social workers and volunteers are working with children, communities and authorities to build awareness of their rights and of the laws meant to protect them. Children, parents, teachers, doctors, social workers and others are responding. Phone calls to CHILDLINE's 24/7 emergency 1098number are up. In 2012 we took over 4 million calls. Beyond immediate rescue and relief, CHILDLINE, despite being desperately under-resourced, is working with each statutory body to catalyse sustained action and with legislators to strengthen laws and policies. Across 291 districts and towns and in state and national capitals we keep the focus on children in situations where hardly any other entity makes them a priority. Over the next few years we'll expand to cover every district and town in India. Three key elements are still missing.

1.     Investment on the scale necessary for adequate infrastructure, staffing, training and monitoring.

2.     The will to enforce laws and implement policies.

3.     Finally, adequate accountability mechanisms to monitor, report and ensure performance.

We know from recent experience that only concerted action from citizens can change these grim realities. You and I determine the significance of child protection on our national agenda.  We can choose action over apathy, determination over cynicism and compassion over indifference. Our most vulnerable citizens need us to urgently search our souls.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Ingrid Srinath is Executive Director of CHILDLINE India Foundation - the 24/7, free, emergency helpline for children in need of care and protection in India. You can follow CHILDLINE on Twitter @CHILDLINE1098 and Ingrid @ingridsrinath


Thursday, 8 August 2013



Published: August 4, 2013 15:46 IST | Updated: August 4, 2013 15:46 IST

When it's minors, police are juveniles



Can’t give special treatment to minors if arrested with adults, says SP

Case 1:

After an incident of communal violence in Kalladka in June 2012, the police arrested two young men and locked them in Udupi Jail. It took the police three weeks to realise they were minors. The FIR stated they were 18.

Case 2:

On July 17 this year, the police booked Roshini* for prostitution as a major after she was found wearing skirts in Guruvanyankere, though her school transfer certificate confirms her age as 17. “They [Belthangady police] just assumed my age… It was only after I was released that I knew that minors are not supposed to be put in jail,” she said.

Case 3:

Among the arrested for the infamous home stay attack in Padil on July 28, 2012, was a 17-year-old boy. He spent nearly eight months in the Mangalore sub-jail before his age was brought to the notice of the police.

These sum up common violations, and highlight problems in the implementation of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Karnataka Rules 2010. Though the police should file an FIR after age verification, in numerous cases — including the arrests of eight juvenile protesting the closure of Kannada schools on November 1, 2012 — minors are sent to jail.

Little knowledge

Many officers say there is little awareness of the law among the police – even among those designated as Child Welfare Officer (CWO) trained “in provisions of the Act, child rights and child psychology”.

“Good CWOs are a minority,” says Asha Nayak, Chairperson, Child Welfare Committee. Even basics such as immediate medical check-up, proper filling of arrest memo, calling CWC or Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) after arrest are often not followed, she says.

A JJB official attributes these problems to the frequent transfers of trained officers, leaving many stations with untrained personnel. “A common violation is to book minors for cases where the maximum sentence is less than seven years – like theft or fights – instead of sending them to JJB for counselling,” the JJB official says, estimating that around six minors are imprisoned every year.

Though officials are expected to be child friendly, 14-year-old Nilofer*, who was raped by two men near Ullal in December, remembers the police asking her if “her family gave her away to the men”, apart from making her wait long hours at the police station, where she came in contact with the accused.

Onus on accused

Superintendent of Police Abhishek Goyal puts the onus of identification as a minor on the accused, saying that for the police it is not “obvious” that the arrested is above or below 18.

In cases where a minor is arrested along with majors, it was “impractical” to give the former special treatment. Furthermore, the SP said awareness should be created on the JJB as the “police deals with hundreds of other acts”.

(*Names changed to protect identities)


Monday, 5 August 2013


Act against child rights violations: SC Judge

By Express News Service - BANGALORE

28th July 2013 08:47 AM


Supreme Court judge Justice V Gopala Gowda on Saturday expressed disappointment at the lack of will and delay in the implementation of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO Act) in Karnataka.

Speaking at the workshop conducted by the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR) and Karnataka State Legal Services Authority (KSLSA), Gowda said, “Authorities and officers who must be at the helm of affairs, implementing this act are totally indifferent to it. Setting up a special court is not enough. They must also ensure that strict action is taken against violators of children,” he said.

Pointing out that many senior officials had not attended the workshop, Gowda said, “Some officials came late, many, including police officers, have not even turned up. It shows how irresponsible they are towards their duty. How can we address an issue like child sexual assault in such a situation?” 

Along with the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, the KSCPCR, Special Juvenile Police Units, District Child Protection Officers, local police and head of educational institutions must come together and see to it that the POCSO Act comes as an aid to protect little children. “Heads of any institution that has children must also participate. It is grim reality that most of the sexual offences occur behind closed doors and the perpetrator is known to the child. Most of them are getting away because of the lacunae existing in our legal system,” he said.

“Even juvenile homes and special homes are unsafe. The government has no data on the condition of the children are in these places. It is not just girls, even young boys are being increasingly subjected to sexual assault.” He said that district child protection officers must maintain a registry of translators and interpreters present in the area who can participate in the proceedings of a sexual assault case.

Justice K Shreedhar Rao of the Karnataka High Court  said that almost a year after the act was notified on November 14, 2012, the special courts designated have not started functioning.

“The government should act on this soon and the KSCPCR must ensure than no case goes unreported,” Rao said.


Friday, 2 August 2013


MADURAI, July 26, 2013

The ‘No, Stop, Tell’ effect



Illustration: Satheesh Vellinezhi


ATTENTIVE Students at the worksop

Workshop to create awareness on ‘good touch, bad touch’ for Middle School children

Madhumittha was shocked when her nine-year-old son Swasthan told her how Ramu Anna was trying some ‘bad touches’ on him.

Ramu was the neighbour's teenage son and a regular visitor to their house.

On further probing Madhumitthan found out Swasthan was lured with a chocolate and taken to a dilapidated building in the vicinity. Thanks to the school awareness programme, the little boy realised that when the ‘anna’ touched his private parts, it was not right.

However, not many Government School children get an opportunity to learn about child abuse, good and bad touches. Thinking on these lines, the Madurai Chapter of Soroptimist International conducted a workshop on ‘Good Touch and Bad Touch’ for girls and boys of VI, VII and VIII Standards at Madurai East Panchayat Union Middle School, Chittampatti, as part of its child abuse prevention programme.

“With soaring incidents on child abuse, it is necessary for children to understand the problem and identify perpetrators so that it can be at the first instance,” says Anita Rajarajan of the Club.

Vice-president Soroptimist International (Madurai), Dr. Sudha Deep, through a power point presentation explained the good and bad touch to the young audience. With the help of colourful illustrations, she defined touch, feelings, skin and mind and how they are related to each another. She also explained parts of the body which are safe to touch and not so safe to touch and parts which should not be touched at all by others.

The awareness session was divided into three sections on “Touching, Saying No and Telling parents’ and teachers.” Dr.Sudha Deep explained how a good touch makes you feel good like hugs, kisses and pats on the back from a mother, friend, teachers while a bad touch makes children feel guilty and confused besides leaving them embarrassed.

Thorough out the session, Dr. Deep insisted that “it is your body and you have every right to say no to unwanted touches from others.” She also gave them a slogan, “NO, STOP (perpetrators) and TELL (parents and teachers).”

“It is a misconception that only girls are abused. We should equip both boys and girls to face the situation,” said Dr. Deep and added “Child sexual abuse does not only leave the child mentally traumatised but can also cause severe depression for a lifetime or sometimes even drive them to end life.” “Any touch that makes you uncomfortable and embarrassing is a bad touch,” she asserted.

The school Headmistress S. Niranjana Devi said, “Children have good instincts to find out something is wrong but they do not understand what it is. Besidesthe fear factor, predators’ threats make them weak and meek.”

“The child requires courage to be firm about his/her physical boundaries and be rude if the adult doesn’t stop,” she said and added “such regular awareness programmes would give them the guts.”

Tricky lesson

“It is a tricky lesson but unavoidable,” she noted.

Children should know what they need to do when someone touches them inappropriately. Children often think it is her/his fault the uncle/aunt touched him/her wrongly. We should teach them that it is not their mistake but rather the aunt’s or uncle’s, she pointed out.

A film on child sex abuse was also screened for the students.

The Club plans to conduct similar awareness meetings for parents separately and a combined session with students.

“A bad touch which makes you feel confused and uncomfortable should be discouraged and parents should be informed about it,” said VIII Standard student Bhavadharaini. She said: “I am ready to shout NO, STOP and TELL because I own my body.”