Abuse, electric fences at Delhi’s juvenile homes

NEW DELHI: From outside, all may seem well. But behind the high walls of the Delhi government’s homes for "juveniles in conflict with law" and "children in need of care and protection", stories of horror abound.

A recent letter from Union minister for women and child development Renuka Chowdhury to Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit talks of the existence of electrified fences at some of these homes. The fences, meant to prevent the occupants from fleeing, could result in grievous injuries to them, says the letter, quoting some of the children, who also complained of being "beaten up mercilessly".

The October 18 letter, a copy of which was acquired by an NGO — Pratidhi — through an RTI application, was written after a one-to-one dialogue with children from these homes. TOI has a copy of the letter. The dialogue on child trafficking was organized by the ministry with the help of the UN office on drugs and crime on October 9 at Vigyan Bhavan.

"During the discussions, children brought to our notice the bad treatment meted out to them at the Observation Home for Boys, Delhi Gate, and the Children’s Home for Boys, Kasturba Niketan, Lajpat Nagar II," the letter says, further pointing out that the children complained that they were mercilessly beaten up.

In the letter, Chowdhury seeks the CM’s intervention and requests her to depute a senior official to look into the conditions at these homes in particular and also at other such centres under the jurisdiction of the Delhi government.

In response to a second RTI application filed by Pratidhi to check on the follow-up by the Centre, the ministry of women and child development says in a December 13 letter that ministry officials who visited the Observation Home for Boys, Delhi Gate, and Children’s Home, Lajpat Nagar II, on November 2 did not come across any complaints of abuse or hardship being faced by the children.

Abuse, electric fences at Delhi’s juvenile homes-Delhi-Cities-The Times of India