GUWAHATI: Rights body, National Campaign Against Torture (NCAT), claimed 96 children are tortured and sexually-assaulted every day in India while over 4 lakh children residing in childcare institutions (CCIs) remain at high risks.
Releasing its report, “Torture & Sexual Abuse of Children in India” on the occasion of 20th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the NCAT said Madhya Pradesh topped the list followed by Assam.
The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) in its Crime in India-2017 report recorded the torture of 4,857 children and sexual assault of 30,123 children, which is 34,980 victims or about 96 children being victimised every day, the NCAT said.
“That the NCRB for the first time reported cases of torture of children including by the police under Section 330 and 331 of the Indian Penal Code in its ‘Crime in India-2017’ is welcome,” said NCAT coordinator Suhas Chakma.
In 2017, the highest number of cases of torture of children was reported from Madhya Pradesh (1,638 victims) followed by Assam (1,127 victims), Maharashtra (377 victims), Chhattisgarh (370 victims), Uttar Pradesh (244 victims), West Bengal (247 victims), Tamil Nadu (179 victims), Kerala (178 victims), Delhi (97 victims) and Andhra Pradesh (120 victims).
“Though Section 10(1) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 [JJ Act, 2015] specifically states that in no case, a child alleged to be in conflict with law shall be placed in a police lockup or lodged in a jail, in reality, children are still detained in the police lock-ups regularly and tortured to extract confessions,” Chakma said.
He also said that the cases of custodial death of a 17-year-old minor boy in the custody of Government Railway Police, Wadala in Mumbai on April 13 and 17-year-old son of Brijendra Singh Rana at the Sidcul police station in Rudrapur city in Udham Singh Nagar district of Uttarakhand on July 11 showed “rampant use of torture against children”.
The rights body alleged many states and Union Territories had failed to set up adequate number of Observation Homes to house the juveniles during trial by the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) and detention of children in police lock-ups is a common practice.
“There are 718 districts in India, but as per the latest data available, as on August 3, 2018, India had only 301 Observation Homes, 31 Special Homes, 21 Observation-cum-Special Homes, and nice place of safety.
"It implies that 396 districts did not have Observation Homes, 666 districts did not have Special Homes and 709 districts did not have Place of Safety to house the juveniles in conflict with law and consequently, the juveniles remain at risks at the hands of the police,” the NCAT said.
Citing the case of Arunachal Pradesh, it said the Central government had provided Rs 116.99 lakh during 2014-15 and Rs.253.49 lakh during 2015-16 to the state government for construction of two Observation and Special Homes but it constructed only one Observation-cum-Special Home, meant to house juveniles from 25 districts, as on date.
“There is no separation between prisons and police stations in the state as most districts do not have any jail and there is only one Observation-cum-Special Home for the entire state. In the absence of Observation Home, juveniles are invariably kept in police lock-ups or prisons,” it added.