Children rescued from unregistered orphanage & school

PASIGHAT, Aug 30: Twenty-two children were rescued from Friendship Foundation Academy, an unregistered orphanage & school here on Thursday by the Arunachal Pradesh State Commission for Women (APSCW)-cum-Arunachal Pradesh State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (APSCPCR) member secretaries Yame Higio and Tem Yabi along with members of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) East Siang district.
After receiving information from ICDS Deputy Director PE Angu, the CWC East Siang inspected the unregistered orphanage & school, which had its head office in Itanagar.
Some of the children belonging to the adjoining areas of Pasighat were handed over to their parents and guardians, while the remaining children, who were from Papum Pare, Kra Daadi and Kurung Kumey districts, were brought to the Oju Welfare Association’s (OWA) children’s home in Naharlagun on 29 August.
Pasighat CWC chairperson Obang Dai has submitted a report to the East Siang deputy commissioner, recommending closure of the unregistered orphanage & school.
Dai’s report stated that the orphanage & school was never registered and had enrolled 50 children. It stated that the living conditions in the five-room hostel were deplorable and the classroom had no furniture.
“About 10 children used to sleep in a room on a same bed by joining two small beds. Classes were conducted for just one or two hours in a day. The rooms were without any ventilation and very unhygienic. Most of the children also showed signs of skin infections. The children were also not given proper meals with just two meals a day of rice and dal only, while drinking water was provided directly from the tap,” stated Dai.
He informed that one Laxmi Chetri Yirang was the school in-charge since March 2018, and one Priyanka from Darjeeling was running the school prior to her. The teachers were also not paid their monthly salaries for the past three months, and the two teachers and the cook were also relieved of their jobs in the school.
An FIR has been lodged at the Pasighat police station against Karma Bhutia, the chairman of the Friendship Foundation Academy. He is presently absconding.
On 30 August, the parents of all 22 children were called for a meeting at OWA, and the children were handed over to their parents. During the meeting, the APSCPCR requested OWA chairperson Ratan Anya to admit the children in Oju Mission School, considering the fact that it is almost mid-session of the academics.
About 19 children were admitted to Oju Mission School, while three were taken back by their parents.
The APSCW-cum-APSCPSR expressed appreciation for the Pasighat CWC team and the OWA chairperson for their prompt action and support in rehabilitating the children.
The APSCW-cum-APSCPCR has meanwhile requested the state government to constitute a separate state commission for protection of child rights to look after child-related cases, in view of the growing number of crimes against children in the state.