Assam: Two cases of Sexual Abuse in children’s homes in Four months

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Assam: Two cases of Sexual Abuse in children’s homes in Four months

Saumya Mishra | December 22, 2018 12:47 hrs

GUWAHATI: Two cases of child sexual abuse in children’s homes have come to the fore in the past four months in the state, raising questions about the security concerns in children’s homes.
 
In a recent case in Sivasagar, a minor girl inmate at a private shelter home in Sivasagar was allegedly repeatedly raped by the superintendent of the home for several months.

The matter first came to light when the victim along with two other girls fled Swapnalaya Children Home on September 3 and the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) Sivasagar received information regarding the same. 


In her statement given to the CWC, the 14-year-old girl has stated that she along with other female inmates of the shelter home were subject to sexual, mental as well as physical abuse by the superintendent of the home, Parag Goswami. 

In her statement, the victim has also accused the housemother of the home, Gita Kakati of inflicting physical and mental torture on her and other inmates. 

The girl even attempted suicide after finding herself helpless and after losing hope of getting any justice.
   
The victim had told authorities that she had earlier been sexually abused by her stepfather at her house, from where she had run away and came in contact with a social worker who then shifted her to the shelter home where she was subject to abuse yet again.
               
City-based child rights activist and founder of child rights NGO Utsah, Miguel Das Queah, informed G Plus that the girl had written him a postal letter relating her ordeal, which is when he came to know about the girl’s ordeal.

“The details of the case are horrific. The superintendent of the children’s home used to drug them by slipping pills into their drinks and then rape them every day,” said Queah.
       
He added that an FIR was filed in Sivasagar back in September but the police failed to take any action in the case. The police are yet to file a charge sheet in connection with the case.  
Goswami has only been currently removed from his post as superintendent of Swapnalaya Children Home. 
  
A similar case was reported in Guwahati in August at the SOS Children’s Village where the assistant village director of the NGO SOS Children’s Village Guwahati was arrested by the police for allegedly sexually assaulting three minor girls.


Questions raised on security of children’s homes 

With such incidents coming to light in the past few months, serious questions are being raised about the security and audit of children’s homes in the city as well as the state.
    
Following these incidents, child protection experts have called for better security and auditing in all children’s homes and shelter homes.
 
Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (ASCPCR) has also taken suo moto cognisance in the matter. However, some child protection experts have also alleged that the ASCPCR has failed in its duty to take action for the protection of child rights in the state. 
     
Queah has submitted a memorandum to the chief minister in connection with the case and has appealed to him to take immediate measures. 
  
He has asked the CM to ensure closure of the Swapnalaya Children’s Home and the immediate transfer of the children to a safe Child Care Institution (CCI). Further he has demanded arrest of Parag Gowami and all his accomplices including the housemother Gita Kakati. Queah has also appealed the CM to expedite social audit of all CCIs in Assam.

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