Guwahati, Feb 27 (IANS) Child abuse and juvenile delinquency have increased alarmingly in Mizoram and the state government has failed to implement the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, a rights body said Wednesday.
The Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR), in its report, "State of Juvenile Justice in Mizoram", quoted a study undertaken by the Social Welfare Department of the Mizoram government, to say 630 cases of child sexual abuse were recorded in the 2003-2009 period.
"It is clear that children in Mizoram are not safe anywhere, as most cases of child sexual abuse were committed by relatives, friends and teachers of the victims," said the director of the ACHR, Suhas Chakma.
"Juvenile delinquency remains equally high in the state. During the last decade from 2002 to 2011, the National Crime Records Bureau under the Ministry of Home Affairs recorded a total of 1,699 cases of "juvenile delinquency" in Mizoram. These include 1,258 cases registered under the Indian Penal Code and 441 cases under the Special and Local Laws," Chakma pointed out.
He said that although the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act was enacted more than a decade ago in the state, the statutory support services - the Juvenile Justice Boards and the Child Welfare Committees in Mizoram - have been set up in all the eight districts only during 2010-11.
"Mizoram has failed miserably in providing institutional care. The lack of separate special homes, and the poor facilities in existing Observation-cum-special homes at Aizawl and Lunglei, overcrowding, and the lack of segregation of the juveniles on the basis of the nature of their crimes all severely undermine the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act", he said.
The observation-cum-special home at Lunglei is overcrowded and facilities are poor, he said adding that the Mizoram government had also failed to utilise grants under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) provided by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
"Children are subjected to abuse and torture in many of the homes," he said, adding that 13-year-old Lalnunpuia was beaten to death by officials at the Herald for Christ's Children Home, a government-recognized children's home at Lungleng, about 15 km north of Aizawl, on July 13, 2009.
"The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has awarded compensation of Rs.3 lakh to the mother of the deceased, based on the complaint filed by ACHR. That particular case shows the level of violence against children who require the utmost care," Chakma said.