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Monday, August 15, 2022

NCPCR takes cognizance of complaint regarding children homes being run by Badruddin Ajmal’s Markaz Darul Yatama in Assam

Children’s homes run by MP Badruddin Ajmal across Assam have come under the scanner of the NCPCR (National Commission for Protection of Child Rights) on the basis of a complaint launched against them with regards to the deplorable condition of children in these homes.

Ordering a probe into six homes set up under the aegis of Markazul Maarif in Manipur and Assam, the NCPCR said that there has been misuse of funds in these homes, and the apex child rights body even found illegal activities being carried out at the homes located at Nagao, Dhubri, and Goalpara.

The NCPCR has called for investigations by central agencies for Ajmal’s Markazul Maarif run homes for providing logistical aid to Al-Qaeda linked Turkish charities. Reports indicate that Markaz donor Turkey-based NGO, IHH, had been interrogated by the Turkish Law Enforcement Agencies for their alleged links with Al-Qaeda.

The NCPCR report says that 778 children were found to be residing in these homes by the inspection teams of the commission. However, according to Assam MP Ajmal who has established these homes, there are 1010 children in these homes. The inspection team also found a discrepancy in the numbers mentioned on the website of Markazul Maarif which stated that there were 1080 children housed in the homes run by it.

The apex child rights body is worried about the unaccounted 300 children mentioned by the organization and said that it needs to be investigated while adding that the inspection team also discovered that the Turkish based organization IHH funding one of the homes is under the scanner of Turkish law enforcement agencies and hence NCPCR is apprehensive regarding the details provided to this NGO by Maarif.

The NCPCR has further said that in the light of these discoveries the body is of the opinion that an NIA probe must be initiated in this issue. The inspection report submitted to the Assam and Manipur governments by the NCPCR also states that many Juvenile Justice Act (JJA) norms were found to be flouted by these homes during the inspection conducted between 14th and 18th December.

The report alleged that these homes had not developed a child protection policy and did not institute mechanisms for the prevention and protection of children from abuse. Some homes had not even installed CCTVs. Bamboo sticks were found which were used for corporal punishment to discipline children.

During informal discussions with staff members, it came out that sometimes they had to employ corporal punishment to discipline particularly difficult children. As per the report, since there was no written child protection policy found in these homes and corporal punishment was used to discipline the children, these homes are in violation of Section 75 and Section 82 of the JJ Act, 2015.

The NCPCR asking for registration of FIR against the accused also added that one of the children had informed them that they were beaten with sticks. Additionally, male staff in one of the homes were found to be roaming within the premises of the girls’ homes which posed a security threat for the girls and put them at the risk of being abused. Three of the homes were not even registered as per the NCPCR  inspection team which called for registration of FIR under sections 42 and 75 of the JJA against each of these homes.

Some of the other shocking revelations made by the investigation teams include cows being accepted as donations by these homes and also being slaughtered within the premises of the homes with children not just being made to witness the slaughter but also trained to kill the animals.

In view of all these shocking discoveries, the NCPCR in its 8th December letter to the Assam and Manipur State Commission for Protection of Child Rights Chairpersons has asked them to form teams immediately to inspect the allegations adding that two consultants from NCPCR also visited these homes for conducting an inspection and verifying the true and correct state of affairs in these children homes.

(Featured Image Source: markazulmaarif.org)

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