The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has ordered an investigation into allegations of physical abuse in a juvenile observation home in Meerut. The allegations were made by a 17-year-old boy from Greater Noida, who was among 43 children who had escaped from the juvenile observation home on December 18.
He alleged that the mass escape was prompted by repeated instances of physical and sexual abuse of juveniles by adult youths living in the observation home.
After escaping on December 18, the boy made his way back to his parents’ home in Greater Noida. On December 20, he contacted FXB India Suraksha Childline, a Union Ministry Of Women And Child Development initiative in the district. The 17-year-old said he did not wish to report the matter to police and sought help from Childline.
The Gautam Budh Nagar-Childline wrote to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR). The letter read, “There have been incidents where juveniles have been sexually abused by these youths and 10 days before December 18, one juvenile experienced sexual assault....” It also notes that “there are more than 20 youths around the age of 25 years who stay in the observation home” and that the adult youths repeatedly assaulted the juveniles with a “rod and four juveniles have suffered serious injuries”. The letter also stresses on “insufficient security” in the observation home and the claims that these adult inmates also occasionally “threatened the security staff”.
The NCPCR has taken cognisance of the matter and directed the Divisional Commissioner of the Meerut division to investigate the matter and report to the commission, while providing a factual report on the matter.
The juvenile had got in touch with Childline on December 20. Over the phone, the 17-year-old had said that he didn’t want to approach police, but he was too scared to remain in the observation home. Yatender Kumar, the district protection officer (DPO), Meerut, was contacted and told about the juvenile’s presence in the district. The juvenile was taken back to Meerut by Childline on December 21.
In the letter, Childline has demanded an immediate inquiry into the matter, a separation of residential facilities “based on nature of offences and age”, review whether the mandated inspection committee has been formed and whether regular visits are conducted by them.