Mys­te­ri­ous Deaths and Rapes in Nari Nike­tans, Child Care In­sti­tutes

Alive - - Editoral -

It is a mat­ter of dis­may and de­grade at the pa­thetic state of shel­ter homes like Nari Nike­tans and Chil­dren Homes where many in­mates, in­clud­ing a deaf and dumb girl, was sub­jected to rape and forcible abor­tion, the Ut­tarak­hand High Court in a re­cent case ti­tled Shivangi Gang­war v State & oth­ers Writ Pe­ti­tion (PIL) No. 07 of 2016 dated May 23, 2018 while ex­press­ing its shock has been com­pelled to passed a string of di­rec­tions rang­ing from reg­u­lar in­spec­tion of such cus­to­dial in­sti­tu­tions, seg­re­ga­tion of nor­mal and men­tally ill in­mates to strict ac­tion against those em­ploy­ing chil­dren for beg­ging or drug ped­dling or any­one met­ing out cor­po­ral pun­ish­ment to chil­dren in child care in­sti­tu­tions and loans to the in­mates of Af­ter Care Or­ga­ni­za­tion to set up en­tre­pre­neur­ial ac­tiv­i­ties. Where will the poor and hap­less chil­dren and women go if they are sub­jected to the worst atroc­i­ties even in Nari Nike­tans and child care in­sti­tutes? What is even more worst is that even those who are deaf and dumb are not spared! This un­der no cir­cum­stances can be al­lowed to go un­no­ticed, unchecked and un­pun­ished!

To be sure, a Bench of Jus­tice Ra­jiv Sharma and Jus­tice Sharad Ku­mar Sharma also di­rected that the trial in the case of sex­ual ha­rass­ment of the deaf and dumb in­mate at Nari Nike­tan in Dehradun by a sweeper which has been mov­ing at snail pace since 2016, with mere five pros­e­cu­tion wit­nesses ex­am­ined, so far be com­pleted within six months while also or­der­ing sus­pen­sion and dis­ci­plinary pro­ceed­ings against

Ramesh Chan­dra Kashyap who is mu­sic teacher at the Na­tional In­sti­tute for the Vis­ually Hand­i­capped at Dehradun’s Ra­jpur Road for sex­u­ally ha­rass­ing a child. No doubt, the of­fences against mi­nors and women must be de­cided at the ear­li­est. This alone ex­plains why even the Ut­tarak­hand High Court di­rected that the trial in the case to be reg­is­tered against Kashyap be com­pleted within three months.

Be it noted, the Bench was de­cid­ing a PIL filed by Shivangi Gang­war who high­lighted the mo­lesta­tion, rape, ha­rass­ment and vic­tim­iza­tion of Nari Nike­tan in­mates in Ut­tarak­hand, more par­tic­u­larly in Nari Nike­tan at Ke­dra­pu­ram in Dehradun. The pe­ti­tioner in­formed the court that the state gov­ern­ment is run­ning three Nari Nike­tans and two shel­ter homes at Hald­wani and Almora. It was also in­formed that the con­di­tions of these Nari Nike­tans are de­plorable. It was also brought out that the men­tally ill/re­tarded in­mates are also kept with their chil­dren in Nari Nike­tans, which is not per­mis­si­ble un­der the law.

Not stop­ping here, two in­mates have died in mys­te­ri­ous cir­cum­stances and what is even worse and ap­palling is that no in­quiry was held to fix the re­spon­si­bil­ity. Four­teen chil­dren were suf­fer­ing from mal­nu­tri­tion and taken to a hos­pi­tal. The news re­ports led to the Dis­trict Mag­is­trate vis­it­ing the shel­ter home at Hald­wani where he no­ticed de­plorable con­di­tions, lack of recre­ational fa­cil­i­ties and that the in­mates were not al­lowed to move out ex­cept for vis­it­ing court or hos­pi­tal for treat­ment and no step is taken to re­store the in­mates to their guardians.

The Bench minced just no words in say­ing it very clearly and cat­e­gor­i­cally in para 127 of the land­mark judg­ment that, “The rape and abor­tion of the help­less deaf and dumb girl, the mys­te­ri­ous death of the two in­mates speaks vol­umes of mis­man­age­ment of the in­sti­tu­tion. These in­sti­tu­tions must be re­spected and main­tained like tem­ples. The mu­sic teacher vi­o­lat­ing the body of a child in the Na­tional In­sti­tute for the Vis­ually Hand­i­capped can­not be per­mit­ted to be re­peated.

Ut­tarak­hand High Court has passed a string of di­rec­tions topro­tect wit­nesses.

The court ob­served that wit­nesses are not ad­e­quately com­pen­sated and their dig­nity should be main­tained.

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