Child abuse at madrassa: Victims finally meet their parents with the help of district collector and NGOs

The parents of the victims, who were staying put in Pune for the past one month, were struggling to get united with their children who were kept in the custody of the child welfare committee (CWC). However, with the intervention of Pune district collector Naval Kishore Ram and parents’ firm stand to take back their children, won the latter their fight and the issue was resolved.
Naval Kishor Ram, district collector.(Shankar Narayan/HT PHOTO)
Naval Kishor Ram, district collector.(Shankar Narayan/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Aug 30, 2018 04:25 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Pune | ByNozia Sayyed, Pune

The students, who reportedly faced sexual abuse at the Katraj-based madrassa Jamia Arabia Darul Yatama, were rescued from the shelter home and have managed to not only meet their parents but have also been sent to their home state Bihar on Tuesday night by the local authorities.

The parents of the victims, who were staying put in Pune for the past one month, were struggling to get united with their children who were kept in the custody of the child welfare committee (CWC).

However, with the intervention of Pune district collector Naval Kishore Ram and parents’ firm stand to take back their children, won the latter their fight and the issue was resolved.

Around 25 Muslim non-governmental organisations (NGOs), including Maharashtra Action Committee, Indian Muslim Front and Millat Foundation, have come forward to help the children and their parents. The representatives of the NGOs were seen fighting for the rights of the victims for the last few days.

Some NGOs, with the help of advocate Anjali Pawar, an activist working against child trafficking, have decided to even file three first information reports (FIR) against the authorities.

Pawar said, “The first FIR will be filed against CWC for delaying the FIR against the accused by three days after finding the victims of the Katraj madrasa (FIR according to the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act should be filed within 48 hours), second against the district child protection officer for keeping the children in such a shelter home which was already ordered by the high court to be shut down (the shelter home was ill equipped and lacked proper facilities for the children), and third against the trustees of the madrassa who were running the centre without any registered licence and even named itself as an orphanage whereas the children who were studying there were not orphans.

“We have met the police officials, and in case they fail to cooperate with us and an FIR isn’t registered within the next 48 hours, we will file a complaint privately in the court.”

The NGOs along with Pawar have even demanded that religious institutes should be issued guidelines and a provision need to be made so that such unfortunate incidences can be avoided in the near future.

Naval Kishore Ram, Pune district collector, said, “I will be meeting the Muslim NGOs and the activist again. It is a crucial demand. We will definitely plan something soon in favour of the children. Security of the children studying in religious institutes is a must and on demand, I will be writing to the government so that provisions can be made in this regard.”

Ram appreciated the community for coming forward to give justice to the children who were victimised at the madrassa.

About the delay caused in sending the children to their state, Ram said, “Child welfare committee should have acted on humanitarian grounds and solved the issue much before time.

“Also for verification of the documents submitted by the parents, the CWC should have come to us. I will be in touch with the Bihar CWC and make sure that the children are handed over to the parents soon.”

The collector promised to take a review of the case and meet the CWC and other people concerned.

“Nobody informed me about the case which is so sensitive in nature. Looking at the rising incidences of child abuse, a grievance redressal cell for children and parents will soon come up in the district. I will expedite the plan,” he said.

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