The Superintendent of Sri Chitra Home, who is facing serious allegations of forced child labour, denial of basic rights like studies and misappropriation of funds, has admitted in writing before the District Legal Service Authority (DLSA) to certain flaws and lapses in the home for destitute inmates.
DLSA has given a strict warning to superintendent Aliamma Varghese, who has been asked to address the issues at the earliest. Principal Sub Judge A Shajahan, who is the acting secretary of DLSA, said that the superintendent has given in writing the flaws and lapses that were pointed out by the inmates. ‘’She has agreed that all the issues will be sorted out within a short time,’’ he said.
The DLSA also warned Vijayalakshmi, the tailoring instructor, who was alleged to be harassing the inmates. The superintendent was asked to monitor the activities of the instructor.
A large number of inmates had submitted a written petition before the DLSA urging active intervention in the administration of Sri Chitra Home as they were living there under adverse conditions. The inmates alleged forced labour, denial of basic rights like studies, misappropriation of articles donated by sponsors and unhygienic living conditions.
Aliamma Varghese said that arrangements will be made for the education of the inmates and no strenuous work will be allotted to them. Moreover, she said that the girl inmates would be shown the complete profile of those who evince interest in marrying them.
She also stated before the DLSA that the government was not giving much importance to the Sree Chitra Home. However, it is said that a major share of the Rs 40-lakh fund given to the Home last year was spent for salaries alone. The superintendent also admitted that she was not able to supervise everything and also complained of staff shortage.
Earlier, the Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Kerala Women’s Commission and the District Collector had visited Sri Chitra Home and taken note of the situation. The Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights had directed the authorities to take steps for the welfare of the inmates, including construction of a new building to house them.
The Women’s Commission has demanded that the government should immediately take over the institution.