NEW DELHI: The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), India’s apex child rights body, has asked states to open bank accounts of children from the persecuted minority communities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh living in the country and enrol them in schools at the earliest.
The directions are part of a report on the workshop held by the NCPCR especially to discuss the issues faced by such children in February this year — a month before Covid-19 pandemic struck India.
The Commission has come up with the report after the Union government, late last year, passed the Citizenship Amendment Act to facilitate granting Indian citizenship to people from minority communities facing persecution in neighbouring countries.
Directing the states, the NCPCR has said that every child between the age of 6-14 years should be enrolled in nearby government schools and no charges should be levied on them which may prevent these children from pursuing and completing the elementary education.
Also, said the Commission, the kids should not be denied admission for the lack of documents proving their age.
The NCPCR has recommended that children who are out of school must enrol in subject-specific bridge courses for different classes for mainstreaming through special training centres.
States have also been asked to ensure that the adult members of families may be given jobs under MNREGA and they be covered under Deendayal Antodaya Yojna- National Urban Livelihood Mission and National Rural Livelihoods Mission.
States were also instructed to ensure that the benefits under Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram by the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare which aims at early identification and early intervention for children from birth to 18 years in case of birth defects, deficiencies, diseases, development delays including disabilities, be extended to such kids.
“The workshop not just documented the challenges but also narrated the hardship faced by the minority communities, especially children, had faced during their stay in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan,” the report shared with the Union Women and Child Development Ministry said.
“As a result of ethnic and religious persecution, millions of refugees along with their families have been migrating to India since 1947 in the hope of living a dignified life, getting equal opportunities and exercising their rights without any constraints and fear.”
Children who were accompanied with their families are the greatest victims of this forced migration, the report also said adding that exposure to violence and discrimination in their homeland and trying to adjust to the new realities in host countries often affects their overall development, sometimes with irreparable long-term consequences.