Moved by the plight of homeless children fighting the winter chill spending nights in the open on the Capital’s roads, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Friday sought a reply from the Delhi government if it had issued any guidelines for the care and protection of street children.
The commission issued notice to chief secretary Rakesh Mehta, asking him to file a detailed report within two weeks on four specific points, including any official attempt to assess the actual number of homeless girls and boys.
On December 22, the Hindustan Times had reported how homeless children were spending nights in the open without proper food and
clothing in the absence of any dedicated night shelters for street children.
According to a survey done by Childhood Enhancement through Training and Action (Chetna), an NGO, over 10,000 children were living on the city’s roads alone.
Most of these homeless children live outside railway stations and bus stands, where they find odd jobs easily. Out of 76 temporary shelters in Delhi, not one has been dedicated to them, the NHRC said, quoting the report.
“It is alleged that the children are not allowed to enter the night shelters meant for adults and families. It seems that the Delhi government has forgotten the homeless children,” the NHRC said, quoting from the HT report. The commission said the content of the report, if true, “raises a serious issue of violation of human rights of the homeless children.”
It asked Mehta to explain “whether there are any periodic surveys conducted to assess the number of such homeless children living on roads, outside railway stations or bus stands”.
The NHRC also wanted to know if the government had any scheme to provide separate shelter homes to homeless boys and girls and what was the number of children that stay in shelter homes meant for adults.