Thursday, June 20, 2013
Last Updated: 19 Jun 20:28 PM IST
23 October 2012
statesman news service
GUWAHATI, 23 OCT: The conflict-ridden state of Manipur records over 3,000 children who have been victims of armed conflicts or ethnic clashes, who are orphans and those who have been diagnosed with HIV and AIDS. However, the state does not have any functioning Juvenile Justice Board, a rights body said.
Releasing a report on Manipur at Guwahati on Monday, the Asian Centre for Human Rights, also asserted that "juvenile justice has been suspended in Manipur by the Union women and child development ministry because of corruption and misuse of resources".
“The Manipur government stated that the Juvenile Justice Boards have been set up at all the nine districts of the state and that the Project Approval Board for the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) of the Union ministry of women and child development, in its 14th meeting on 22 February last year, had approved grants for all nine of them. However, as the state government failed to establish the justice boards and approval boards, the Union ministry had stopped funding the state government since January 2012,” said Mr Suhas Chakma, director of the Asian Centre for Human Rights.
“The service delivery for institutional care is an astounding case of total misuse of resources. For the first grant under the ICPS, which was for 2009-2010, the complete grant was shown to have been utilised by the state government even though no staff had been appointed to the State Project Support Unit, State Child Protection Society (SCPS), etc.," he added.
According to officials of the Manipur government, "equipment had been purchased in advance". "It is clear that the funds provided for offering services to children have been diverted for equipments,” Mr Chakma said.
The New Delhi-based rights body also stated that the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 prevails over any other national security legislation, including the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), 1958. However, the Central security forces do not have any knowledge about the JJ(C&PC) Act while children are being regularly apprehended, detained and subjected to torture with many being killed in fake encounters of clear violations of the Act.
“We have recommended to the Manipur government to issue a direction to
the Army and paramilitary forces who are legally bound to operate in aid of and under the civil administration to ensure full respect and compliance with the JJ(C&PC) Act while dealing with children and to operationalise the existing Special Juvenile Police Units and Juvenile Justice Boards,” he said.
The rights body also recommended to the Union ministry concerned to conduct an inquiry into the misuse of resources for purposes other than stipulated, including non-appointment of the staff under the ICPS and develop guidelines to ensure that the ICPS funds are non-divertible and non-lapsable.