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NCPCR accuses Bengal of neglecting child right protection

February 6, 2024
Mita Mukherjee

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has accused West Bengal government of neglecting issues concerning protection of child rights and failing to fulfill the responsibilities under different child related acts.

The state has been also accused of disregarding laws laid down in the acts and not cooperating with the NCPCR in investigations into incidents taking place in Bengal involving violence against children.

The commission raised the accusations in a special report submitted by it to Parliament in December. “There are several central acts where rules have been laid down to protect child rights. We have observed that the West Bengal government had been continuously disregarding these laws. We have cautioned them on multiple occasions. But it seems the government has institutionalize the act of violating the laws of all child related acts. This is very unfortunate,” Priyank Kanoongo, NCPCR chairperson told EducationWorld.

Raising serious concerns about the way the state government failed to address various issues, the commission stated in the report among other things how Bengal failed to implement the Right to Education (RTE) Act 2009 of the Centre which guarantees elementary education to all children till Class VIII.

According to the RTE Act, the state governments are supposed to ensure that children from underprivileged families are given access to unaided schools. But this provision of the Act has not been implemented in Bengal.

“… The state is not implementing Section 12(1) © of the Right to Education Act 2009 which focuses on giving underprivileged population access to education and including children from marginalized groups in private unaided schools. By not implementing the said provisions, the State is depriving these children fundamental rights….” the report says.

In the report the NCPCR has stated that West Bengal is also violating the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015.

“West Bengal is running a parallel system of dealing with what are being called as ‘destitute children’ in the State. These institutions are called ‘Cottage Homes’ and are being run under the Cottage Scheme.”

The acts are Central Acts and are meant to extend the rights of children. The state governments have a role to play in implementing them. The special report aims to ensure that the Parliament is made aware about the actions of the Bengal government.

The report refers to incidents of bomb blasts in Bengal in which several children were victimized. “ The Commission took cognizance of reports of bomb blasts in the State covering incidents where around 40 children have been the victims of the bomb blasts. During the inquiry the Commission not just came across mistakes, oversights and disregard of the legal procedures it was also observed that on just important issue  the State Government’s cooperation with the Central agencies is negligible…” according to the reports, a copy of which is with EducationWorld. 

In its 45-page report, the commission said “ During the operations conducted by the Commission to rescue trafficked children it was found that several girls who were rescued were brought from West Bengal either to different State or different city within West Bengal……. Similarly exhibiting a callous approach towards border protection and ignoring danger for children, the State is not cooperating with the Central Agencies/Institutions in protecting our borders and children..”

Also read: NCPCR requests states, UTs to review school calendars amid cold weather

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