National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) Chairman Priyank Kanoongo has said he has no information of illegal detention of children in jails or abuse by policemen either in Uttar Pradesh or anywhere in the country.
The NCPCR has been criticised by activists for allegedly turning a blind eye to police brutalities following the crackdown on protesters holding demonstrations against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019, in U.P. and Delhi.
The Supreme Court on February 10 ordered the Centre, the NCPCR and its arms in New Delhi and U.P. to submit a report on detention of children in jails , calling such actions as a violation of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015.
“I appeal to activists and organisations to provide me information about any illegal detentions, abuse, torture or exploitation in the context of anti-CAA protests. Give me the details of the victims and I will ensure justice is delivered,” Mr. Kanoongo told The Hindu .
Mr. Kanoongo said he had written to the Superintendents of Police of Muzaffarnagar and Bijnore seeking their response to media reports of children being detained for several days, beaten up in police custody, denied water and access to toilet, adding that he received their response calling the reports “false” and “rejecting” that children were either taken into custody or beaten up while quelling protests held in various parts of U.P. The Hindu has seen these letters.
Asked if the NCPCR accepted these responses, or whether it would conduct an independent inquiry, Mr. Kanoongo replied, “We accept the reports submitted to us as of now”.
The NCPCR Chairman said he would await a report from the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights on the Bidar police questioning schoolchildren in a sedition case following the performance of a play against the CAA.
On his controversial letter last month asking the District Magistrate of South-East Delhi to “identify” and “counsel” children seen in some viral videos opposing the CAA and National Register of Citizens, Mr. Kanoongo said he did not regret his comments. “If children anywhere in the country espouse violence, I will ask for them to be counselled,” he said.
Asked how he proposed to protect children from Ministers and MPs inciting violence against a particular community, Mr. Kanoongo said: “I am concerned only about the actions of children, not those of adults”.