34 Children missing and sexual assault of a minor within two consecutive years in an orphanage of Kutch, Gujarat
Due to irresponsible behavior shown by Gujarat Police in probing the matter of an Orphanage in Kutch, Gujarat, NHRC was compelled to remind them of their duties.
Deadly earthquake of 2001 in Gujarat had taken many lives, broken innumerable homes, and orphaned thousands of children. Due to which, steps were taken to build an orphanage to shelter those destitute children.
In the year 2017, 34 children had gone missing from an orphanage-cum-child protection home from Gandhidham town of Kutch. NHRC has directed the district police of Kutch in Gujarat to probe allegations as the cases remain unsolved even after 3 years.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has also demanded the police to investigate the alleged gang-rape of a minor girl by two school students of the same institute in August 2018.
Vinod Khubchandani, a Gandhidham resident had approached the NHRC to raise and highlight the matter of Jeevan Prabhat Orphanage. Even though over the past two years the Superintendent of Police of Kutch has failed to file reports
He also alleged that the children were also sexually assaulted and subjected to menial works at the institute run by Arya Samaj Charitable Trust, an NGO.
Children had been disappearing from the Jeevan Prabhat institute for the past 17 years which was founded to shelter children orphaned during the 2001 Gujarat earthquake, says Khubchandani.
However, in response to the complaint about missing children at that time, the Kutch SP had lodged a report, claiming that the 34 children who disappeared had returned to their parents and relatives.
Later on, it was revealed that those children were listed without any guardians at the time they went missing and directed the district magistrate to seek actions against the institute. The action resulted in the cancellation of the license of Jeevan Prabhat. But, the NGO challenged the matter in the Gujarat High court, due to which they secured a stay on the license cancellation.
According to a report filed with the NHRC last year, the Kutch collector had served a show-cause notice on the NGO, asking why action should not be initiated over the matter and for not maintaining records of the children.
Answering to the show-cause notice, NGO stated that no case was registered by any parent or guardian with regards to the missing children and that they had no records of such developments.