**Bhubaneswar:** ‘Shelter homes’ across India are taking undue advantage of the limitations in the Juvenile Justice Act and accommodating minor children in ‘Hostels’. While Child Care Institutions (CCIs) or the shelter homes come under the purview of JJ Act (2015) and need to be duly registered under Section 41 of the Act, no such statute used to be there for hostels.
However, in 2017, the Supreme Court passed a judgment which stated that all such institutions that accommodate children will come under purview of the JJ Act. Also any child who needs State’s support will be listed as ‘Child in Need of Care and Protection’ (CNCP) (Section 214 of JJ Act).
Despite the SC judgment a number of institutions continue to run across India without proper registration and flout norms listed under the JJ Act blatantly.
A case in point is ‘Good News India’ which runs approximately 26 centres in Odisha, Jharkhand and West Bengal, out of which 22 hostels are located in Odisha. This institution started from Bhadrak and is headquartered in Phulnakhara on outskirts of Bhubaneswar.
Fayaz Rahman, heading Good News India’s Odisha operations has been arrested by Dhenkanal police on charges of sexually abusing minor girl inmates. If this was not enough, a video is viral on the internet, which shows Rahman resorting to proselytism.
He is allegedly forcing children (inmates) into water tank for a holy dip as a part of Baptism. The incident is reportedly captured on camera at a hostel run by Good News India at Beltikiri Tehsil in Dhenkanal district.
“Rahman’s arrest and subsequent interrogation would expose the noxious nexus of foreign funding and conversions in Odisha,” a senior police official said, requesting anonymity. On the other hand, the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), Khurda, today submitted a petition to the Chief Minister requesting a Crime Branch enquiry into the ‘Dhenkanal Shelter Home’ case.
“We have requested that all Child Care Institutions should come under the purview of the JJ Act, powers to be vested on ICDS members and Police to intervene, identify and shut operations of illegal centres and a police official should be the member of the Home Management Committee (of CCIs),” Benudhar Senapati, Director, Bhubaneswar Childline said.