Guwahati, Feb. 27: A New Delhi-based NGO, Asian Centre for Human Rights, today criticised the Mizoram government for poor juvenile justice system with the state reporting increasing incidents of child sexual abuse and juvenile delinquency.
The NGO today released its report on “State of Juvenile Justice in Mizoram”, which stated that the state reported 630 cases of child sexual abuse between 2003 and 2009 but the state government was not sincere in incorporating facilities for protection of children under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000. Although the act was enacted in 2000, the statutory support services, namely the juvenile justice boards and child welfare committees in Mizoram, have been set in all the eight districts only during 2010-11.
The NGO demanded setting up of more shelter and care homes and proper utilisation of central funds to ensure safety and protection of children in the state.
“Sexual abuse of children remains high in Mizoram. The report compiled by the state social welfare department showed that children are not safe in the state, as most cases of child sexual abuse were committed by relatives, friends and teachers of the victims. The state has also reported increase in juvenile delinquency and according to National Crime Records Bureau, between 2002 and 2011, Mizoram recorded a total of 1,699 cases of juvenile delinquency. These include 1,258 cases registered under the IPC and 441 cases under special and local laws,” NGO director Suhas Chakma said.
“Mizoram has failed miserably in providing institutional care. The lack of separate special home and the poor facilities in the existing observation home-cum-special homes at Aizawl and Lunglei, overcrowding, lack of segregation of the juveniles on the basis of the nature of their crimes severely undermine the act,” Chakma said.
He said the observation home-cum-special home at Lunglei is overcrowded and facilities are poor. “The home has a capacity to house only 10 inmates (boys only). However, many a times the inmates exceeded 14 and in such situations they had to sleep on the floor. Ironically, the Mizoram government has failed to utilise the grants under Integrated Child Protection Scheme provided by the ministry of women and child development. Besides, monitoring of the 28 recognised children homes run by private owners or religious institutions was not proper and children are admitted without the consent of the child welfare committees, mandatory under the act,” Chakma said.
The NGO demanded the establishment of special observation homes in districts, separate observation and special homes in Aizawl and Lunglei and proper utilisation of fun-ds within the financial year to improve the juvenile justice system.