Government to constitute vigilance committees at local level

The State Cabinet on Wednesday set up a committee to propose measures to check torture and abuse of children by parents, against the background of recent incidents in Kozhikode and Kumily.

The committee, to be headed by the Additional Chief Secretary in charge of the Social Justice Department, will have the Principal Secretaries in charge of General Education, Health, Local Self-Government, and Home as members. The committee is to submit its report in a month, but immediate steps would be taken to improve vigilance against torture of children.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told the media that the government viewed the incidents seriously. The victim in Kozhikode had died while the child at Kumily was in a critical condition. The government hoped that he would recover soon. Minister for Social Welfare M.K. Muneer would visit the child and make further arrangements for his future care. The Collector had already visited the child.

Mr. Chandy said that pending adoption of long-term measures on the basis of the committee’s report, the government would constitute vigilance committees at the local level involving anganwadies and school headmasters and principals. They would be required to look out for signs of distress among children and report the matter. The police would be directed to take strong action in case of atrocities against children.

Besides, the headmasters and principals would be asked to identify children requiring counselling. Funds for arranging counselling sessions would be made available from the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS). ICPS funds would be made available to provide food, clothing, tuition fee, and money for excursions to poor children found to require them on assessment of their studies. Hospitals would be required to report suspected cases to child welfare committees when children with injuries are brought to hospital for treatment.

The Chief Minister said that changes to the laws would be brought in if the committee recommended that for protection of the children. It would be possible to detect atrocities against children through effortless monitoring. Society needed to be watchful.

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