BANGALORE: The warden of a state-run hostel for boys in Vijayanagar is under the scanner of the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR) which registered a suo motu case against him for “not providing food to children”.
Following complaints from children aged between 11 and 16, KSCPCR member Edward Thomas visited the hostel in MRCR Layout on Thursday and found warden Laxmi Narasappa absent.
“I got a complaint that the warden does not come to the hostel and that the children do not receive food. I was shocked when I got there. The warden was not there and I found children scattered all over the place with no one to check on them. Apparently, he comes only once a week,” Thomas told Express.
The hostel, run by the Social Welfare Department, has 135 schoolchildren. It has separate blocks for children belonging to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes.
“These are children from Gulbarga, Raichur, Bidar and other places. What if something happens? Who should take responsibility for the kids? They told me that the warden does not give them eggs, bananas twice a week and chicken once a month. The kids say that he gives them just `5 for haircuts,” Thomas said.
The KSCPCR is likely to seek an explanation from Narasappa.
“We will also write to the department recommending action against the warden,” Thomas added.
‘No Money, No Subsidised Rice’
Narasappa, however, pleaded helplessness and justified his absence. “I am also in charge of a residential school in Yelahanka that has 120 children aged between six and 10. As they are younger, I focus more on them,” he told Express.
When asked about children’s complaints of not being given food, Narasappa said the hostel has not received subsidised rice since June.
“Each child gets `900 for food and there is no separate money for bananas, eggs and chicken. If there is leftover money, we can afford them. Each child gets four kg of rice a month and we’ve been paying `26 for one kg. The subsidised rice would cost us just `6.50 a kg,” he explained.
Boy Allegedly Brutalised by House Father
A 13-year-old boy at Balakara Bala Bhavana, a care and protection home for children on Hosur Road, was allegedly brutally beaten by his house father Ramesh for not offering prayers before eating, said Divya Narayanappa, District Child Protection Officer. The boy is undergoing medical treatment and a complaint has been lodged against Ramesh with the Wilson Garden police. Narayanappa said the boy is doing fine. According to a source, the runaway boy was beaten on his buttocks with a pipe, slapped on his cheek and hit on his arm. “He could barely walk when he was produced before the Child Welfare Committee. He identified Ramesh as the one who hit him,” the source said.