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Ludhiana shelter home illegal, officials ignored rules: Probe

The probe also found that CWC members visited the home twice but took no immediate action. It was on August 20 that the team went to seal the shelter but by then it was too late as the owner had sent 30 of the 38 children to Jharkhand.

punjab Updated: Sep 06, 2018 09:49 IST
Aneesha Sareen Kumar and Mohit Khanna
Aneesha Sareen Kumar and Mohit Khanna
Hindustan Times, Ludhiana
Ludhiana,Ludhiana shelter home,punjab
Packiam Mercy Cross Child Shelter Home in Phullanwal near Ludhiana.(HT File)

A magisterial inquiry into the alleged discrepancies at the Packiam Mercy Home, Ludhiana, has found that the facility, though operating since 2006, was not registered under sections 41 and 42 of the Juvenile Justice Act.

Besides, a probe conducted by Ludhiana additional deputy commissioner (development) Shena Aggarwal has pointed out that the district child protection officer (DCPO) and the child welfare committee (CWC) members were negligent in not following procedure even as they checked the shelter home twice — on July 31 and August 9.

“It is illegal to run the shelter home without registration and thus the owner is liable to be punished for not getting the home registered,” says the probe report.

The inquiry report also states that while the shelter home owner Satyendra Parkash Musa was warned by the child welfare committee (CWC) on August 9 against sending any child home without their (CWC’s) permission, he still sent them to Jharkhand without informing the administration. The owner has violated orders,” reads the report.

The probe also found that CWC members visited the home twice but took no immediate action. It was on August 20 that the team went to seal the shelter but by then it was too late as the owner had sent 30 of the 38 children to Jharkhand.

Also read:Four Bihar kids rescued from Ludhiana shelter home, yet to be reunited with parents

“The officials should have acted then and there on the first visit and taken all the 38 children in their custody. The DCPO and the CWC are grossly negligent in their conduct. It is still a doubt where the 30 children are? The owner of the home states that children have been sent to their homes in Jharkhand but he doesn’t have any record to establish the claims,” states the probe conducted by Aggarwal.

Inmates, parents deny ill-treatment

The magisterial probe found that there was no ill-treatment of children at the shelter home.

“We used to go home every year during our holidays. I was never once beaten up here and liked going to school,” one of the minor children who stayed at the Packiam Shelter Home had told the probe officials.

The parents of the children told probe officials that the shelter home did not take money. “Two of my children Sunil, 13, and Bobby Kumari, 10, have been staying at the home since 2014. I used to take them home during holidays,” said Jaspin Tuti, a widow , of Jharkhand.

Also read: Shelter home kids in the lurch in Ludhiana

Thoman George, principal of Agape Public School, Karnail Singh Nagar, said as 27 children of the shelter home took admission in his school this year on the basis of their Aadhaar cards.

First Published: Sep 06, 2018 09:48 IST