An FIR dated February 2 has been lodged against social activist and former IAS officer Harsh Mander in Delhi’s Mehrauli police station after National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) in January observed grave violations of Juvenile Justice Act and various other irregularities, including child sexual abuse in two NGO-run child care institutions in Delhi, run by him.
NCPCR alleges gross violation of JJ Act in 2 child care homes In Delhi
Earlier in January 2021, the apex child rights body took cognisance of a complaint regarding violation of the JJ Act in ‘Umeed Aman Home for Boys’ and ‘Khushi Rainbow Home for Girls’ in South Delhi, established by the Centre for Equity Studies (CES). The shelter homes are run by Harsh Mander, who was a member of Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi’s National Advisory Council (NAC).
In its inspection report, the NCPCR noted that the prevalence of sexual abuse of children was found in the boys’ home.
The NCPCR formed two teams led by its chairperson Priyank Kanoongo, which inspected the two child care institutions in October last year. The Commission said that the registration of ‘Umeed Aman Ghar’ had not been renewed.
Cases of sexual abuse went unreported
Through various sources, the Commission had learned that multiple instances related to sexual abuse of children had taken place within the Home in the years 2012, 2013, and 2016, the report said.
During the inspection, the NCPCR also found out that foreign nationals frequently visited the Home to provide ‘voluntary services’. “It is unclear to the Commission on what basis were these foreign nationals permitted to give voluntary services in these Homes and interact with children while their visit to India was for other purposes,” it said.
The NCPCR has recommended the Department of Women and Child Development of the Delhi government to take appropriate action against this institution to ensure strict compliance with the rules.
“A lack of child protection policy in the institution makes the children prone to abuse and neglect and it is strongly recommended that to ensure the safety and security of the children, they must be shifted from these Homes,” it said in its report.