Not satisfied with the response of the government and the Delhi Police in the alleged sexual abuse of children in Arya Orphanage, scores of NGOs have demanded that a CBI inquiry be conducted in the case. They have also demanded that the orphanage be shut down and the government take over its administration.
On Monday, 23 NGOs and six coalitions came together to call for ‘zero tolerance of any form of child abuse and neglect’. The NGOs also emphasised on the ‘need for a strong response mechanism’ in such cases.
Their demands also include holding the management responsible for the abuse case and strict action against them.
“Those who were entrusted with the responsibility of taking care of them were exploiting them. The Arya Orphanage case is a complete failure of the child protection system. There have been few arrests of the staffers but it seems the management is above the law. With cases of sexual abuse being reported the management should not be allowed to run it,” said Shireen Vakil Miller, Save the Children’s director of advocacy and policy.
Social activist and former chairperson of Child Welfare Committee Bharti Sharma said that certain amendments need to be made in the Juvenile Justice Act. “Even as the Act makes it mandatory for every institution to register themselves but with no penalty clause, people simply don’t come forward,” Sharma said.
“We also need to check whether government organisations are also registered or not,” she added.
NGOs have also demanded that the other institutions being run by the Arya management should also be probed.
Swami Agnivesh, who was also present at the meet, said the NGOs will also be staging a demonstration at Jantar Mantar over the issue.
“These people are running orphanages from properties worth several crores. Any aid being given to them should be stopped immediately,” said Agnivesh.
Haq: Centre for Child Rights, which had submitted a report to the police, had pointed out cases of serial sexual and physical abuse inside the orphanage. “The media has been reporting the case which is why we have been getting information about what has been happening. Had that not been the case we wouldn’t have got to know anything,” said Bharti Ali, founder and co-director of Haq.