Directive issued to Authority of KISS Tribal School, Bhubaneswar, Odisha to comply within one month on the basis of CWC Inquiry Report in the matter of alleged torture of children living in KISS
Following the complaint on allegation of torture of children living in KISS tribal school by Subas Mohapatra, Human Rights Activist on 17.4.17, a joint Inquiry Committee comprising the members of Child Welfare Committee, Khurda and District Child Protection Officer enquired into the matter on 19.6.2017. on the basis of the enquiry report, Child Welfare Committee, Khurda has issued the following direction dated 8.8.2017 to the authority of KISS Tribal school, Patia, Bhubaneswar to comply within month. No doubt, this is a biggest achievement of Subas Mohapatra and his greatest contribution to save the tribal children from hunger and malnutrition.
Major issues in respect of violation of right of tribal children in KISS Tribal school identified by CWC, Khurda is as follows
1. It is astonishing that KISS Tribal School is not recognised by Tribal Welfare Deptt. Of Govt. of Odisha till yet.
2. The Institute only accommodates poor tribal children. Academic proficiency is not a criterion for selection.
3. The children are living as internees of the school hostel.
4. No Govt. authority other than education Dept. Inspects the activities of KISS.
5. There are no sufficient toilet available for huge number of children living in the hostel. Hence children are suffering.
6. The living space of the children are too congested for the children to live comfortably. Hence the Hostel rooms are found over-crowded. Rooms are not cross-ventilated. Some single beds are shared by two children.
7. The living rooms are found untidy, stinky and unhygienic as these are over-crowded.
8. Children are not given freedom to play even to watch the games except a few selected children who participate in outside games.
9. Small size sanitary napkins are provided to the adolescent girls as a result the older girls feel uncomfortable.
10. Staffing pattern is too less to manage such a huge crowd of children. For 400 children, there are only 2 supervisory staff. On the other hand the staff are not found to be trained on child rights and child protection.
11. There is no grievance redressal mechanism in the hostel. No complaint Box. Hence the grievances of the children are found not heard properly.
12. Since there are may children especially adolescents are living together, they have to have many issues which need to be addressed by the case worker/ counsellor. But the institution has not appointed any such staff.
13. Though the management explained that the children’s health check up is conducted prior to admission and there is a separate hospital for the children. But in practice there is no sick room adjoined to the hostels to accommodate the sick children.
14. Children eat “chuda” and sugar everyday at 7 am. After that they take a meal and go to the school. They come back from school at 4 pm. They eat rice & curry at night. No menu chart followed. Repetition of food menu and monotonous diet is given to the children. Huge gap between two meals is observed. Due to insufficient nutrition , the children are found undernourished and anaemic.
15. There are several instances of children running away from the institution due to poor grievance redressal mechanism . Many times the run away children are produced before WC and the committee has noticed that no FIR is lodged by the authority. Though the Child Welfare Committee has issued notice to the KISS authority to appear and explain about the reasons of runaway and non-reporting about the fact to the police. But the authority of KISS never cares to appear.
Directives to KISS Tribal School by CWC, Khurda
1. First of all it is necessary for the institution to get recognition from the Dept. of Tribal Welfare. So that the government people can inspect the institution and give proper advise to improve standard of care. They will be responsible for any deficiency of standard of care. Hence, the KISS Authority is to apply to the Dept. of Tribal welfare , Govt. of Odisha in a month time to obtain necessary recognition. At least a set of guidelines may be issued to the institution to maintain standard of care of the children and to address grievances of the children.
2. Since the institution has accomodated some children in need of care and protection, it needs to be recognised by the Deptt. Of W and CD under JJ Act. This would help the government officials of JJ system to verify standard of care and to see whether all rights to the children are ensured. Hence the KISS Authority is to apply in specific form to Khorda district administration within a month time to issue certificate of recognition u/s 41 of Juvenile Justice ( care and prortection of children) Act 2015.
3. All the children who come under the purview of “ child in need and protection” under section 2 (14) of the JJ Act are to be identified and be produced before CEC, Khurda as per section 31 of the Act with proper background report in one month time.
4. The inquiry committee realised that within the existing infrastructure, it is not proper to accommodate such a huge number of children . Hence either the number of children shound be reduced or necessary infrastructure should be developed to meet the needs of the children as per ICPS norms. The institution shall submit an action plan report in the matter to this committee within one month time.
5. The guideliens for ensuring a child safe environment in institutions where children are housed and /or study issued by the Dept. of Women and Child Development , Govt. of Odisha vide notification No. 13626 dated 23.8.2014 is to be mandatorily followed by the Institution and be monitored by the District Administration / education authority. All the provisions laid down under this guidelines shall be complied by the institution within one month tome so that safety of the children can be ensured.
6. The inmate should be provided with necessary toilets and bathroom services for their comfortable living as it is their right. An action plan report in this regard shall be submitted to this committee within a month time.
7. In view of accomodation of huge number of children, this committee feels that there shall be at least a proper Child Protection Policy in the institution as a safety mechansim for the children. Hence, the KISS authority shall publish a clear ChILD Protection Policy document in the institution which shall be read and signed by all the people working in the institution withina month period.
1. While passing direction, CWC, Khurda has ignored or bypaased major issued relating to violation of right of the children. For example, in its enquiry report, CWC has mentioned that “Children eat “chuda” and sugar everyday at 7 am. After that they take a meal and go to the school. They come back from school at 4 pm. They eat rice & curry at night. No menu chart followed. Repetition of food menu and monotonous diet is given to the children. Huge gap between two meals is observed. Due to insufficient nutrition , the children are found undernourished and anaemic.” But CWC has not made any direction to KISS authority to ensure nutritious food to the children. This is the biggest violation of right to food of the children.
2. CWC has not come out with any direction KISS Authority about enforcing grievance redressal mechansim in the institution.
16. CWC has not made any specific direction about problem of run-away children from KISS tribal school. Because , despite notice issued by Child Welfare Committee to the KISS authority to appear and explain about the reasons of runaway and non-reporting about the fact to the police, the authority of KISS never cares to appear.
Story does not end here. Myself and Subas Mohapatra will go for follow up and monitor how CWC order was complied by KISS Authrity through use of RTI and expose true character of Achyut Samant.