School hostels turning into juvenile crime hub

  • Debashish Sarkar, Hindustan Times, Jamshedpur
  • Updated: Jul 31, 2016 16:13 IST
Ghatsila DSP Sanjiv Besra at Bethany House, the private hostel where Class 3 student Ramchandra Giri was murdered on the night of June 26. (HT Photo)

A majority of private residential facilities as well as school hostels across Ghatsila subdivision are running without any registration with the Jharkhand government, officials said on Saturday, admitting that the situation was worse across the state.

The absence of non-registration and weak monitoring by the authorities exposes the hostel inmates to multiple crimes—some mutual, other forced by hostel runners and in many cases the same extending to the level of a racket.

The shocking revelation came to the fore as the district police and the civil administration started a crackdown on all private hostels operating in Ghatsila subdivision, 170 km from state capital Ranchi.

On June 26, one Class 3 student Ram Chandra Giri of Irvine Adventist School was killed in one such private residential facility Bethany House after he saw some students engaged in a homosexual act. Giri’s alleged killers Birbal Soren (19) and his 12-year-old Class 5 partner in crime study in the same school. Bethany House accommodated 37 boys while the school hostel has 60 boys and 30 girls out of 800 students.

On April 3 this year, a girl student in Kasturba Gandhi Girls Residential School at Pathargama block in Godda district of Jharkhand had alleged that they were being forced into sex racket by the hostel authorities.

Ghatsila deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Sanjiv Besra said, “We’ve so far identified five private hostels each in Ghatsila and Baheragora running without any registration. Another such hostel without registration has been identified in Shyamsunderpur in the first round of checking. We’ve given them one month’s time to get registered with the government.”

Irvine Adventist School director SJ Hembram and school administrator Suresh Chauhan told HT that they had applied for registration with the state welfare department’s child welfare wing in 2012 and two inspections were also held. But, on Thursday they were told that residential schools didn’t require hostel registration.

Jharkhand State Child Welfare Society (JSCWS) director Rajesh Singh reiterated the same, quoting the provision of the JJ Act-2000. “At present, the act covers only orphanages, hostels for mentally challenged children, shelters for abandoned and surrendered children. Ideally all student hostels should be registered and we did try to bring government residential schools like Kasturba Gandhi Girls Residential Schools under the purview of JJA-2000,” he said.

“We’re preparing a draft proposal to cover all school hostels – both government and private – for making necessary changes in the law and rules. I am discussing this with National Commission for Protection Child Rights (NCPCR) chairperson Stuti Kakkar for expanding its purview from current three categories of abandoned, orphaned and surrendered children to include also distanced child,” Singh said.

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