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Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Sexual and physical abuse in government funded orphanage- 10 including officials of WCD arrested

Ten persons have been arrested based on sexual abuse charges in government approved orphanage in West Bengal. Some influential people including a person holding assistant director rank post in the Women and Child Development and Social Welfare Department(WCD & SWD) have been arrested. The issue came to light after an adopted girl revealed her ordeal to her mother.

Telegraph reported that the police officials received a complaint from a woman who had adopted a child from Karuna West Bengal Women and Children Welfare Society in Howrah, WB. The woman observed that the girl child had problems and upon inquiry she revealed that she was being physically and sexually abused in the orphanage. She had named 10 persons all of whom have been arrested under POCSO Act.

It is a Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) recognised orphanage and thus appears to have been receiving government aid. It also has an FCRA license and has been receiving funds from abroad. It had received a grant of Rs.5,89,500 from the WB State Child Protection unit in 2016-17. The organisation obtained FCRA license in 2016 and since then has received Rs.43,26,413 from foreign donors, mainly from Italy. It paid a fine of Rs.1,00,1000 in 2018-19 for not submitting the details of foreign funds to the Home Ministry.

An official in the rank of Assistant Director in the state WCD and SWD and the daughter-in-law of former deputy mayor of Howrah are among the arrested. Out of the 10 arrested people 9 are women directly associated with the orphanage. WBl Commission for Protection of Child Rights washed its hands saying it was due to disruption in periodical inspection of orphanages in the midst of the pandemic.

Shashi Panja WCD and SWD minister of WB merely said “Law should take its own course”. These so-called orphanages are proving to be a curse on Bharat’s society as a huge number of them operate with profit in mind instead of service. NCPCR has taken note of the presence of an astounding number of orphanages in the country, and found out in its audit that most of the orphanages house economically backward children who have parents. 

The audit revealed that FCRA NGOs are embezzling funds collected in the name of ‘orphans’ and that they collected more than necessary in some cases. NCPCR has directed the state units SCPCRs to take necessary measures to reunite the children with their parents. Hindu Post has time and again pointed out how the positions in WCD and SWD departments and Child Protection units are predominantly occupied by people belonging to a certain faith and how they have been ‘molding’ children for particular ‘purposes’. This incident further strengthens our point with even highly placed government officials involved in sexual abuse.

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