#India – The National Policy for Children, 2012

Pib press Release


The Union Cabinet today gave its approval to the National Policy for Children, 2012. The Policy reaffirms the government`s commitment to the realisation of the rights of all children in the country. It recognizes every person below the age of eighteen years as a child and that childhood is an integral part of life with a value of its own, and a long term, sustainable, multi-sectoral, integrated and inclusive approach is necessary for the harmonious development and protection of children.
The policy lays down the guiding principles that must be respected by national, state and local governments in their actions and initiatives affecting children. Some of the key guiding principles are: the right of every child to life, survival, development, education, protection and participation; equal rights for all children without discrimination; the best interest of the child as a primary concern in all actions and decisions affecting children; and family environment as the most conducive for all-round development of children.
The policy has identified survival, health, nutrition, education, development, protection and participation as the undeniable rights of every child, and has also declared these as key priority areas.
As children`s needs are multi-sectoral, interconnected and require collective action, the policy aims at purposeful convergence and strong coordination across different sectors and levels of governance; active engagement and partnerships with all stakeholders; setting up of a comprehensive and reliable knowledge base; provision of adequate resources; and sensitization and capacity development of all those who work for and with children.
A National Plan of Action will be developed to give effect to the policy and a National Coordination and Action Group (NCAG) will be constituted to monitor the progress of implementation. Similar plans and coordination and action groups will be constituted at the state and district levels. The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and State Commissions for Protection of Child Rights are to ensure that the principles of the policy are respected in all sectors at all levels. There is a provision for review of the policy every five years. The Ministry of Women and Child Development will be the nodal ministry for overseeing and coordinating the implementation of the policy and will lead the review process.


Call for images from the IG Khan Memorial Trust

Calling for images

The IG Khan Memorial Trust is looking for images on the broad theme of
Labour and Dignity. The Trust, founded in memory of the late Dr IG Khan (a
historian and teacher at Aligarh Muslim University who worked on a variety
of social issues), organizes an annual lecture and events in association
with the university on the idea of social justice. For more on our work and
past events, see our website www.igkhan.org

We are looking for images on the (very) broad idea of labour and dignity.
These can be photographs, or drawings, or sketches, or calligraphy,
graphics or graffiti. The images can be to do with gender, work, child
labour, manual labour, obsolete labour, rickshaw pullers, paid and unpaid
work…feel free to interpret the idea in any way. For more details on our
event and work see www.igkhan.org

We will use these images in different forms during our memorial event/s on
AMU campus. Photographers and artists interested in sending work can email
us high-resolution copies at igmemorialtrust@gmail.com with permission for
one-time use. We can give credit (please specify credit line) but cannot
afford to pay for use.

Look forward to receiving your images!


Hand over child to grandmother in West Bengal: U.S. Court #Goodnews


Indrashish was taken away by U.S. Child Welfare services after he fell from bed and got injured

A court in New Jersey, U.S. has ordered that the 18-month-old Indrashish, son of Indian couple living in the city, be handed over to his maternal grandmother Pragati Basak of Gangarampur in Dakshin Dinajpur district in West Bengal. The child was taken away by the U.S. Child Welfare services from his parents after he fell from his bed and was seriously injured at his home at Parsippany Township in New Jersey on August 9, 2012.

The child is expected to be brought back to India later this week. Speaking to The Hindu over telephone from his residence in Balurghat in Dakshin Dinajpur, the child’s paternal grandfather Nirmal Krishna Saha said the release order had been signed by the court on February 14.

He said the court had earlier sought the names of relatives to whom the child could be handed over.

Indrashish, who fell from his bed, was admitted to a local hospital. His parents, Debashish and Pamela Saha, faced criminal charges and the U.S. court directed the New Jersey Department of Children and Families that the child be immediately made a ward of the court and be placed in its immediate custody, care and supervision.


#India- Child marriage averted #goodnews #Vaw


A 14-year-old girl from a village about 15 km from Udupi district, who feared her parents would get her married, is now in the custody of an institution in Mangalore, thanks to the intervention of Childline.

Rita Madtha, Deputy Director of the Department of Women and Child Welfare, said on Tuesday that the Mangalore Childline had sent a letter regarding the matter to the Deputy Commissioner of Udupi district, M.T. Reju, about a week ago.

Following this, Ms. Madtha, Child Development Project Officer (CDPO) Sadananda and her staff went to the school where the minor was writing an exam. The team spoke to the girl and her parents, who gave a written undertaking that they would not conduct the marriage.

A twist

Mangalore Staff Correspondent writes:

Dakshina Kannada Child Welfare Committee Chairperson Asha Nayak said the girl was found in the Mangalore bus-stand on Monday evening. She was produced before the CWC and they put her in an institution for children. Ms. Nayak said that the girl gave a statement to the CWC giving details of the circumstances that made her leave her house.

Norway row: ‘Were my parents taken away because I was bad?

by  , First Post, Dec 2, 2012

Seven-year-old Sai Sriram looks up at me with innocent eyes, with a gaze that is clearly searching for answers. He is probably wondering why I am asking for him to be sent inside when so many people and camera crew are inside his home in Miyapur on the outskirts of Hyderabad.

I am worried about the effect the picture of his parents – Chandrasekhar Vallabhaneni and Anupama – that is flashing non-stop on the TV screen, will have on his young mind. At least three vernacular TV channels have jumped the gun and are incorrectly flashing that the parents have been sentenced to jail. Monday will be the critical day when an Oslo court could sentence his mother to 15 months and father to 18 months in jail.

The boy and his younger brother Abhiram, less than two and who was still being breastfed by his mother till one week ago, look lost and confused. They are upset. They don’t know why Amma is not back yet as promised.

Sai Sriram has been diagnosed with mild to moderate ADHD or attention-deficit hyperactive disorder: Firstpost

Sriram says his father is away on work. But “Nanna” (for father) has not spoken to him over Skype for a week now and he is wondering why. He obviously does not know his parents have been arrested in Norway on charges of “repeated maltreatment of their child/children by threats, violence and other wrong”.

Sai Sriram’s doctor Dr Kalyan Chakravarthy who has been interacting with the child for the last three months says Sriram thinks he was earlier punished for “bad behaviour” by being kept away from his parents for many days and now his parents have been taken away because he has been “naughty”. Sriram was taken away by the child welfare agency in Norway for eight weeks earlier this year on suspicion that the child was being `scolded and intimidated’ at home.

Do we ever realise how much children blame themselves for what they see going wrong around them, with their parents?

The developments are clearly having an adverse effect on the emotional and physical health of the seven-year-old. Sai Sriram is diagnosed with mild to moderate ADHD or attention-deficit hyperactive disorder. He had been responding positively to treatment and to the occupational therapy he was undergoing, but the absence of both parents is obviously causing tremendous trauma and the child is regressing and deteriorating.

Sriram, always a fussy eater, has not been eating well all of last week and his paternal grandmother is obviously worried about his health. Abhiram has been running fever and is asthmatic.

The children obviously miss their mothers nurturing and cuddles. Chandrasekhar’s mother Srilakshmi is in tears, unable to console the children, who are longing and crying for their parents. Both children share a strong emotional bond with their parents and that is now showing in their health and well-being, she says. “I don’t think I took as much care of my children as my daughter-in-law always does. She can’t bear to see them hurt in any way”, she said.

Anupama’s father fights his tears as he tries to explain to total strangers the credentials of his daughter as a loving mother and her husband as a caring father.

“My daughter did her B.Tech and is well-educated. But they both decided that the money he is earning is enough and they would focus on the upbringing of their children. So she remained a housewife”, he said.

Sai Sriram was born premature at seven months and from the very beginning, he had been a difficult child, who needed more patience and understanding in handling, the grandfather says.

No one in the family is denying that the elder child would be every now and then reprimanded, scolded or threatened, all of which they feel is part of the Indian style of parenting to try and discipline the child. But seen through the glares of Western perception and cultural values and put in the context of what has been often called a “draconian” Norwegian law, the parents have been criminalised and painted as villains.

Even presuming that the parents were not ideal human beings, with loads of patience and with the capacity and intention to practice progressive parenting values, condemning them to jail seems an excess beyond justification. They may have even crossed the line and committed some wrongs, but surely their intention was not to torture their child or subject him to inhuman treatment.

From all accounts, they seem to be affectionate, caring parents. It is quite possible that their frustrations sometimes broke their patience and they may have acted in a manner that they regretted only minutes later. Doesn’t it happen to all of us?

What they needed then and now is support and counselling on the best way to deal with the child and with their own emotions. Not a sentence behind bars. Friends of the couple in Norway insist there is documentary evidence to suggest that they sought help for their child and themselves. They never got that help. All they got was blame and were labelled criminals.

If putting the parents in jail is punishing a wrong, then who is going to correct the wrong of denying the children the loving care of their parents. Splitting a family this way would be to compound an error.


Married off at 11, Maharashtran girl wins battle for education #Vaw #childmarriage

By , TNN | Dec 1, 2012,

Married off at 11, Maharashtra girl wins battle for education
An 11-year-old girl from a small village in Aurangabad district walked into the Mukundwadi police station a couple of days ago to demand her right to education.

AURANGABAD: An 11-year-old girl from a small village in Aurangabad district walked into the Mukundwadi police station a couple of days ago to demand her right to education. Married off six months back to a 17-year-old boy suffering from mental illness, she mustered enough courage to approach the police and register a complaint against the boy and his parents for not allowing her to go to school.

The girl’s story was a familiar one—of abject poverty and the skewed nature of society. Apart from this, however, child welfare activists in Aurangabad say it wasn’t common to see a girl so young being married off. Last year, they had come across a case of a 14-year-old girl who was forced to marry by her parents. The Mukundwadi police referred the case of the fifth standard girl to the Cidco MIDC police as her village falls under their jurisdiction.

The police here handed her over to the city-based Child Welfare Committee (CWC), which immediately got her admitted to a school, where she has started attending classes Thursday onwards.

The CWC on Wednesday asked the police to register an offence against the parents of both the girl and the boy within three days. The girls’ parents and in-laws are reported to have fled their homes.

MIDC Cidco police inspector Ganpat Darade told TOI on Friday that they have recorded the girl’s statement. “She did not face any atrocity from her parents or the boy’s parents, though her father, who works as a labourer, is an alcoholic. It was only her desire to continue education that forced her to leave the boy’s home,” he said.

Darade said action would be taken against the parents of both the boy and the girl for violating the Prevention of Child Marriage Act. Social organizations and activists too expressed their concern over people mainly from the poor strata of society marrying off their minor children. CWC member Renuka Ghule said the girl was petrified when she came to the police station. “The police offered her food and water as she looked disoriented and tired. Later, when they took her into confidence, she narrated her story.


#India- Kerala Shame- Father, Brother and Uncle rape Minor, arrested #Vaw #Torture



Father, brother, uncle rape minor, arrested in Kerala
Thalassery, November 27, 2012

The father, brother and an uncle of a 13 year-old girl from nearby Dharmadom in north Kerala’s Kannur district have been arrested for allegedly raping the minor for the past two years.

The shocking incident came to light two days ago when the 8th standard student of a local school  was seen crying and refused to go home even after school hours. When one of her teachers enquired, the petrified girl narrated her plight. The school authorities immediately informed the police and a complaint was registered.

The girl’s father, her 15-year-old brother and an uncle have been arrested, Thalassery Circle Inspector, MV Vinod Kumar, who is probing the case said.

The brother has been sent to juvenile home while the other two were produced in court and remanded to judicial custody.

The girl told police that she was sexually assaulted by the three since she was in her sixth standard.

According to Vinod Kumar, the victim has also told the police that her elder sister, who had committed suicide two years ago, had also been raped.

Meanwhile, Kerala Vanitha Commission chairperson, K Rosakutty told PTI that the incident was an ‘insult’ to Kerala’s conscience.

The Commission would be writing to chief minister and home minister demanding re-enquiry into the case of the suicide of the victim’s elder sister.

“This is a shocking case of two minor sisters being raped by family members. The elder sister, an 8th standard student, had committed suicide is the police version. But it needs to be probed as no proper inquiry was done then”, she said, adding, both the cases were related.

As uncertainty looms large about the victim’s future, the Commission was prepared to take her under its care, she said.

The victim has been presently housed at a home run by the Child Welfare committee. Efforts needs to be made to ensure that there were no interference in the case, she said.

Strongly condemning the incident, K Ajitha, president of “Anweshi”, a women’s organisation, said anti-rape case clinics needs to be set up in the state as early as possible.


The Confiscation of the Bhattacharya Children by Norwegian Authorities – A Case Study

The gist of the Norwegian case against the mother was that the children feared and rejected her and were emotionally disconnected from her. This is belied, among other things, by the following home video that Sagarika has now uploaded on You Tube. Do have a look – it speaks for itself.
Why did they take my children

This report surveys the care proceedings faced by the Bhattacharyas in Norway as a case study in the thinking and practices of child welfare regimes in the developed West.The Bhattacharya case was no exception. Social service agencies with the power to separate children from their families and place them in permanent care as a measure of protecting children from parents considered to be unfit exist in many first world countries. These include the countries of Western Europe, the United States and Britain. If the confiscation of children by these agencies is not justified, then we have in the nations that support such action a situation of grave inhumanity.

The permanent separation of children from their families has severe consequences for both parents and children. Parents are deprived of their children; their state of being as mothers or fathers permanently imprisoned by the State‟s confiscation of their children. As for the children, their extraction from their families and re-location as subjects of public care in institutions or foster homes; or being put up for adoption constitutes a radical and complete re-writing of their childhood and of their identity into adulthood by the State.
The care proceedings in this study are revealing of how, despite the drastic and far reaching nature of this form of State intervention, the issuance and review of care orders is almost entirely free of the usual checks and balances against the misuse of coercive State powers. The actions of social services bureaucrats and the decisions of courts operating in these child welfare regimes are largely hidden from public view by confidentiality laws. Moreover, neither the collection nor the assessment of the evidence on which parents are found to be unfit is subjected to the level of scrutiny of even a regular civil suit, let alone a criminal trial.
In the Bhattacharya case, even if the evidence on the record is taken at face value, it does not substantiate the determinations of unfit parenting and breakdown of the relationship between parent and child. Much of the so-called evidence describes normal interactions between the mother and the elder child, such as might be witnessed between any mother and her toddler.
The result is a denial of procedural and substantive justice for parents and children.
Another aspect of the care proceedings that gives rise to concern is the low threshold for the confiscation of children from families. There was no allegation of sexual abuse, child battery or abandonment in the Bhattacharya case. There was no allegation of any criminal act having been carried out against the children. The facts as alleged in the case did not justify the grave and life altering step of permanent confiscation of the children from their parents.
The case record also reveals that there was little attempt to help the family stay together by enabling the parents to overcome their perceived deficiencies. Parenting flaws and mistakes, such as they were, appear to have been identified only to provide the excuse to remove the children. So for all that the system claims to exist for the welfare of children, the children of families caught in care proceedings are given no real chance of staying with their families.
The decisions about the Bhattacharya parents and children in the care proceedings are also revealing of the distorted understanding of the child and family that underlies intervention by permanent separation of children from families perceived to be dysfunctional. In the Bhattacharya case, the home environment and parenting practices were found to be faulty on a number of fronts. The parents were assessed to be incapable of improving. And based on these determinations the conclusion in the logic of the Norwegian child welfare system was that the children should be placed in permanent care.

The response of the care system at each stage in the proceedings to the Bhattacharyas‟ pleas to be given a chance to be re-united with their children, of being allowed visitation with their children, of their offers for improving the perceived deficiencies in their care of the children,of the prospects of the siblings in the case being placed in separate homes and being brought up in a Norwegian rather than in an Indian family, reveal the extent to which the Norwegian approach to child welfare devalues heritage and family ties. There is a pervasive disavowal of filial love in the assessment of parental performance and the well-being of children. The question of what constitutes a good childhood is reduced to a laundry list of care criteria. Not only does filial love find no place in this approach, many of the care criteria are deeply rooted in Western culture. As a result, these child welfare regimes are inherently biased against families from foreign cultures.

Download full report below

Case Study Final

Immediate Release- Norwegian child confiscation case




8 November 2012
The Child Welfare Committee of Burdwan (CWC) has today passed interim
orders for release of the siblings Abhigyan Bhattacharya (4 yrs) and
Aishwarya Bhattacharya (23 months) from foster care and restoration to
their mother, Smt. Sagarika Chakraborty.

With the help of a panel of experts, we have evaluated the children,
their condition in the foster home and the capability of their mother
to care for them. We have found the mother to be fit to take care of
the children and their foster carer to have failed in his duties
towards the children.

The care of Abhigyan and Aishwarya is governed by Indian law by virtue
of their residence in India and the agreement under which the children
were given in foster care to their paternal uncle. Under Indian law,
foster care is a temporary measure with the aim of restoration of
foster children to their parents wherever possible. Notwithstanding
any agreements or court orders as to foster care, the Child Welfare
Committee is duty bound to change the foster carer or restore foster
children to a parent if continuation in foster care is no longer
necessary or beneficial for them. Foster children have a right to the
love and care of their parents, if the parents are able to raise them.
In this case, the father does not reside in India and the children are
being restored to the mother as the parent present in India.

The Norwegian orders under which the children were released to foster
care of their 26-year-old bachelor uncle do not justify an absolute or
permanent separation of the children from either of their parents. Our
findings as to the fitness of the mother and her interaction with the
children at visitations arranged by us establish a reasonable basis
for giving an opportunity to the children to be re-united with their
mother. We are keeping the case open for further review once the
children re-commence life with their mother.
We were unable to take charge of the children today for handover to
their mother owing to unavailability of police assistance to control
an unruly mob that had gathered around the foster home. We have
ordered police to ensure law and order so that the children can be
peacefully handed over at the earliest.


Why did they take my children away


Abandoned by mother, child forced to stay in psychiatry institute


Preetu Venugopalan Nair
PANAJI: Abandoned by his mother, a 15-year-old boy has nowhere to go and is forced to stay at the institute of psychiatry and human behavior (IPHB), as authorities at the state run home for children, Apna Ghar, are refusing to accept him.
The doctor treating the boy at IPHB certified him fit to be discharged almost a fortnight ago. The boy had been detected with conduct disorder and treated for this at IPHB.
Sources said Apna Ghar authorities are refusing to accept the child stating that conduct disorder is a “mental illness” and the boy should be kept at IPHB and not Apna Ghar. The doctor treating the boy has now written to CWC (South) stating that most Apna Ghar inmates show signs of conduct disorder and the child needs to be kept at Apna Ghar, not IPHB.
Confirming receiving the letter, CWC (South) chairperson Martha Mascarenhas said, “We are concerned about the boy’s safety and welfare and are worried that if brought to Apna Ghar his situation may worsen. Also we have to look into the other children’s safety. We are in talks with two homes in which to lodge the boy. In case he is not taken in by either of these homes, he will be brought back to Apna Ghar. We don’t want the child to be troubled anymore.”
She added, “I had met him in IPHB and the tears in his eyes shattered me. I don’t want the child to continue staying with adults in IPHB. The child is special and he needs care and love.” CWC looks into issues of children in need of care and shelter lodged in the state run home.
The minor was referred to IPHB after he, along with two other children, went on a rampage and vandalized the child welfare committee’s (CWC) offices and the dormitory in February this year. The child was allegedly upset as he was kept in a separate room and not allowed to interact with other children in the home.
Psychiatrists said conduct disorder is a psychological problem diagnosed in childhood and juvenile delinquents. “Most of the children in Apna Ghar come to IPHB with such a problem,” a psychiatrist at IPHB said.
CWC claims that on the psychiatrist’s advice, they are trying to arrange some employment for the minor boy. “The doctors have said he needs to be occupied with some job so that it can bring in a change in his life and attitude. I have spoken to NGOs ARZ and SCAN to help the boy get a job,” added Mascarenhas.
When contacted, ARZ representative Arun Pandey said, “This amounts to child labour. What the child requires is care and protection and not employment. He seems to be in a no man’s land in the most child friendly state in India, with Apna Ghar and even NGOs neglecting him.”

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