NEW DELHI, Jan 31 – In a damning report, a human rights body has reported that children in Assam are routinely tortured in police custody and juvenile justice is in a shambles in the State. Assam has been consistently ranking top in juvenile delinquency among the eight north-eastern States.In 2011, Assam topped the list with 405 cases, Asian Centre for Human Rights said in its report “Assam: The State of Juvenile Justice.”
The report has claimed that there is acute shortage of homes for juveniles in conflict with the law, as well as children in need of care and protection. In its 27 districts, there are only four observation homes and three children homes run by the State. These homes are confined to Kamrup, Nagaon and Jorhat districts while the shelter homes run by NGOs are located in Guwahati.
The Jorhat Observation Home set up in 1987 caters to over 11 districts – Jorhat, Golaghat, Karbi Anglong, Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, Sivasagar, Lakhimpur, Darrang, Udalguri and Sonitpur.
Trafficking prone districts like Dhubri, Kokrajhar, Baksa, Chirang, and Bongaigaon do not have any home.
Claiming that Assam’s negligence of juvenile justice is astounding, it says that the State has failed to set up seven new open shelters during 2011 despite availability of funds under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme of the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
Because of this failure, the Project Approval Board of the Ministry of Women and Child Development declined to accept the request for grants for three existing open shelters at the 45th PAB meeting on 11th July 2012 under the ICPS,” said Director of Asian Centre for Human Rights, Suhas Chakma.
The State Child Protection Society (SCPS), Assam failed to specifically provide the total number of reviews done by the State Government on the pendency of cases before each of the CWCs since their constitution.