New Delhi: The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) will be setting up a bench in Mizoram’s Mamit district on July 5 to hear grievances and issues pertaining to the protection of children’s rights. The district administrations of Kolasib and North Tripura in neighbouring Tripura will assist the bench as well as take directions to initiate appropriate action on complaints received.
Supported by a team of qualified technical experts, the NCPCR chairperson and members will examine issues under various categories like education, child labour, juvenile justice and health & nutrition.
NCPCR has asked residents of the three districts and NGOs active there to come forward with grievances pertaining to child rights violations. Those who are unable to come personally have the option of handing over their submissions to district administration officials such as the district collector or any nodal officer appointed by him.
The bench will also examine cases of violation of child rights among the Reang tribe, referred to as Bru in Mizoram. Nearly 30,000 members of the community were forced to flee to neighbouring Tripura following incidents of ethnic violence in the late 1990s.
Speaking to EastMojo, NCPCR chairperson Priyank Kanoongo said, “In Mamit district, our concern is extended to the misplaced children of the Reang tribe residing in makeshift camps in Tripura. We will be hearing their complaints as well.”
In fact, several members of the community cast their votes for the first time ever since their displacement over two decades ago at polling booths in Mamit during the Mizoram state assembly elections held in November last year.
The NCPCR bench seeks to be a platform to spread awareness and sensitise state administration officials on child rights, especially around acts concerning sexual offences, juvenile justice, child labour and right to education. This move is a first of its kind initiative of the commission for aspirational districts identified by the government think tank NITI Aayog in the Northeastern states.
One of the first such hearings that were held in Arunachal’s Namsai district on June 21 witnessed enthusiastic participation by parents, NGOs, district officials and members of civil society. According to NCPCR officials, more than 100 cases were presented to the bench after EastMojo first mentioned about the event in a report published on June 14.
Based on a complaint received at the event, a minor was reunited with her parents after a ten-year gap.
Similarly, a subsequent follow-up story by your portal on the recovery of the body of a young tribal girl from the house of an Arunachal lawmaker where the commission had taken suo moto cognisance, helped fast track investigation into the crime. The state police re-examined evidence and made an arrest in what was initially being dismissed as a simple case of suicide.
The investigation officer and officer in charge of the concerned police station were put on suspension on June 22 on charges of dereliction of duty.
“Departmental proceedings have been recommended against the two,” Itanagar superintendent of police, Tumme Amo told the portal on the phone. He added, “We have also registered a case under Section 305 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against the main accused.”
The section prescribes capital punishment or life imprisonment for abetting the suicide of a minor.
Meanwhile, the NCPCR officials informed EastMojo that the commission was very serious about expanding its reach in the region through its Northeastern cell. In the past few years, the area has registered a rise in crimes against children.
Established by an Act of Parliament in 2005, the NCPCR has the mandate to inquire into violations of child rights, non-implementation of laws providing for protection and development of children and examine factors that inhibit the enjoyment of rights by children under various circumstances. The body also monitors the authority of Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, Right to Education Act, 2012, and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012.
The commission takes note of complaints and representations received through different modes including by post, email, POCSO e-Box and through its online complaint registration system, E-baalnidaan.