22 Children Rescued From East Siang Orphanage
Academy chairperson absconding
ITANAGAR: The Arunachal Pradesh State Commission for Women and the Arunachal Pradesh State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (APSCPCR) on Wednesday rescued 22 children from an orphanage at Pasighat in East Siang district.
The rescue was made on the basis of information from the District Child Protection Unit about the orphanage, Friendship Foundation Academy, which was allegedly operating without proper approval from the authorities.
While the procedure has been initiated for handing over the children belonging to the adjoining areas of Pasighat to their respective guardians, the rest of the children who are mostly from Papum Pare, Kra Daadi, and Kurung Kumey districts were brought to the Children's Home run by the Oju Welfare Association (OWA) on Wednesday.
Following a request from the APSCPCR and a subsequent meeting with the guardians, the OWA on Friday admitted 19 children in its school with free education for this session.
Meanwhile, the Pasighat Child Welfare Committee has recommended closure of Friendship Foundation Academy for violating the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.
The committee in its report to the East Siang deputy commissioner said that the 'self-proclaimed orphanage' is unregistered and was operating without the knowledge of authorities.
It also stated that the 50 children in the academy were being kept in ‘deplorable’ and ‘unhygienic’ conditions. The committee said the academy has only five hostel rooms without adequate infrastructure, and that nine to ten children had to sleep on the same bed by joining two small beds. It added that the rooms lacked any ventilation and that many children had signs of skin infections.
The committee said that classes were conducted for only one to two hours a day and that the faculty has also been not paid their salaries for the last three months, for which reason two teachers and the cook had already resigned.
Regarding the children's nutritional care, the committee reported that the children were fed just two meals a day consisting of only rice and pulses, and had to drink tap water.
A first information report has been lodged at the police station here against the academy’s chairman, Karma Bhutia, who is still absconding.
(Photograph MAKSAM TAYENG)