NEW DELHI: The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has identified 51 religious places, including Taj Mahal, in 17 states where child beggars, child labour as well as child abuse are “more prevalent’’ to ensure zero tolerance towards the problem.
The Commission has initiated an audit of these places, with studies of 27 sites completed. According to NCPCR head Priyank Kanoongo, the idea behind the study was to “create an environment towards ensuring zero tolerance towards child begging and child labour and make our religious places child friendly.”
He said in the first phase, evaluation has been conducted in 27 religious tourism places out of the identified 51.
Apart from Taj Mahal, other places that have been audited in the first phase are Mallikarjuna temple in Andhra Pradesh, Somnath temple in Gujarat, Shravanabelagola and Murdeshwar temples in Karnataka, Meenakshi Sundareshwarar temple and Kamakshi temple in Tamil Nadu, Kamakhyadevi temple in Guwahati, Sai Baba temple in Shirdi, Siddhi Vinayak temple and Haji Ali dargah in Maharashtra, Brahma temple in Rajasthan and Fateh Pur Sikri in Uttar Pradesh. Kanoongo said that such an exercise had been done for the first time.
The exercise was done collaboratively with the involvement of multi-stakeholders, including child welfare police officers, anti-human trafficking units, representatives from NGOs and religious trust and groups. In the second phase, the child rights body plans to take up the rest of the identified religious places.
He said the audit would help them to link these children to child welfare schemes launched by both the central and state governments so that they could be rehabilitated.