People seething with anger at lack of basic norms in the home

Updated - October 18, 2016 03:01 pm IST

Published - June 14, 2014 10:13 am IST - COIMBATORE

Aghast at the rape of two minor girls in Pollachi around Wednesday midnight, social activists have questioned the manner in which the government has allowed homes for orphaned or poor children to run despite they not adhering to even basic norms relating to safety and hygiene.

The initial suspicion of the police about only one person being involved in the crime is questioned by activists, with at least one of them suspecting ‘an inside’ help.

The Tamil Nadu Tribal People’s Association’s Coimbatore district convenor, V.S. Paramasivam, alleged that not a single rule related to safety and hygiene had been adhered to by the home run by the Tamil Evangelical Lutheran Church (TELC).

Referring to reports of the district administration having pulled up the home for non-adherence to norms, Mr. Paramasivam wondered how the authorities concerned, including those from the Child Protection Committee, were unaware that the home was functioning in such an appalling manner.

“It is not possible for one person to drag two girls over 200 feet to the next building and rape them even at knife-point. One of the girls could have raised an alarm or fled. Therefore, more than one person would have been involved.

The investigation must also look into the possibility of some inside help to the culprits from somebody in the home,” he said.

The Coimbatore district president of the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA), A. Radhika, said the rape was the result of lack of deterrent action in earlier incidents in Tuticorin, Madurai and Sattur.

Tight framing of cases and swift process of meting out justice would deter such incidents.

On homes that did not adhere to norms, she said that many of them were found not to have even watchmen. “The government should put in place a stringent process of sanctioning such homes. It must check the track record and ability of organisations to run homes with absolute safety for children,” she said. The State must also have a monitoring committee comprising judges and women’s welfare activists to oversee the functioning of the homes. “The government had only reacted by closing the homes first. Closing them does not provide a solution, as the children are left in the lurch. Instead, the government should run such homes”.

Shahul Hameed, a resident of Pollachi, had petitioned the district administration in March seeking action against the home for the poor conditions.

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