08 August 2016 National Cover Story

Govt Threatens To Sack Assam Child Rights Top Official

Runumi Gogoi's been asked to change her report if she wants to continue with the state commission.
Govt Threatens To Sack Assam Child Rights Top Official
Jitender Gupta/ Outlook
Govt Threatens To Sack Assam Child Rights Top Official

Runumi Gogoi, chairperson, Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, is likely to be the first victim of the BJP-led government in Assam and the Centre following the Outlook expose Operation BetiUthao.

The investigation had revealed how 31 tribal girls from Assam had been trafficked by three RSS affiliated organisations to Punjab and Gujarat last year. Yesterday, there were reports in the Assamese media about her removal as the chairperson of the statutory body. She is yet to receive any official intimation. Yet, a few hours before this news, she was threatened by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights to “change her report if she wants to continue with the commission”. 

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) is an Indian government commission, established by an Act of Parliament, the Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act in December 2005. The Commission considers that its mandate is "to ensure that all Laws, Policies, Programmes, and Administrative Mechanisms are in consonance with the Child Rights perspective as enshrined in the Constitution of India and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child”.

Last year, Runumi had followed up on the case and written to NCPCR, Gujarat State Commission for Protection of Child Rights and Punjab State Commission for Protection of Child Rights citing child trafficking and violation of the Juvenile Justice Act 2000.  She had requested for their immediate restoration. 

This year, she visited the Saraswati Shishu Mandir, Halvad, where 20 of the 31 trafficked girls were sent and filed a report on July 15, 2016, to the NCPCR requesting action.

She made the following observations among others: 

  1. How did the 31 girls move out of Assam without obtaining No Objection Certificate from Child Welfare Committee?
  2. Why were the children not produced before the Child Welfare Committee, Mayur Vihar, when rescued at the New Delhi Railway Station?
  3. On what basis were the children divided between two groups and 20 sent to Halvad (Gujarat) and 11 to Patiala (Punjab)?
  4. On what basis or on what ground, the GRP of New Delhi Railway Station handed over those children to the institutes without producing them to CWC after they were rescued by Child line Central Zone?

She also recommended that an MOU should be signed between the states for transferring and bringing children back to their own state.

She mentioned in the report, “While interacting with them (trafficked girls), we were surprised to observe that most of them have forgotten their mother tongue within a span of one year since their arrival but at the same time they were very fluent in Gujarati language. This is a gross violation of a child’s right to identity and study and communicate in own language. It is important to mention that since their placement in the institute, the children have not met their parents and while enquired about the same, the trustees replied that after two years of their stay they would be ‘allowed’ to meet them.”

 Gogoi said, “I am not affiliated to any political party. Law applies to all political parties and I only applied it as a party of duty.” NCPCR members remained unavailable for comments.

Gogoi's letter to the NCPCR chief

Gogoi's letter to the NCPCR chief

Runumi Gogoi's Report

Runumi Gogoi's Report

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