NATIONAL

TISS report points to model shelter homes in Bihar

Seeking Justice:Members of different organisations taking part in a rally in Patna on Sunday condemning the Muzaffarpur shelter home rape case.PTIPTI  

The social audit report by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), which exposed the sexual abuse of 34 minor girls at a State-run shelter home in Muzaffarpur, has also pointed out that there are at least seven shelter homes that could, in fact, be models for other such institutions in the State.

The 100-page TISS report has not been made public yet.

There are 110 shelter and short-stay homes funded by the Social Welfare Department of the Bihar government and managed by NGOs across the State. The TISS report pointed to 15 of them in which minor girls and boys were physically and sexually abused.

But while speaking to reliable sources who were part of the social survey team, The Hindu came to know that one of the seven very well-managed shelter homes is the Specialised Adoption Centre in Saran district. The infrastructure and management of the centre were found to be good, and the staff too were concerned and sympathetic towards the children living there. All children at the centre looked happy and healthy, the report has noted, sources said, while suggesting that, “This centre could be called a model adoption centre.” The secretary of the NGO running the affairs of the centre was found to be a sensitive person, dedicated to the welfare of the inmates.

“Yes, at these shelter homes, the staff and those who run them on behalf of the government have developed some appreciative mechanisms for the welfare of the children living there, which could be replicated at other centres, too,” Mohammad Tarique, who led the TISS team that prepared the social audit report, told The Hindu over phone.

In another example, the children and staff of the ‘Observation Home’ at Darbhanga enjoy a cordial relationship. Whether it is gardening or cleaning the kitchen, they do it together. Regular classes are held for the children and there are facilities to play badminton and volleyball. The atmosphere at the centre was congenial, according to the report, sources said.

At the ‘Children’s Home’ in Buxar, children were seen learning painting and art. This home also has a library from which children borrowed books to read at bedtime. This is an initiative that other centres could follow, the report says, according to sources.

At Shanti Kutir in Nalanda district, women inmates are taken to a nearby temple every evening, and no women had tried to escape from it.

Positive atmosphere

Concern for girl children was visible at the Children’s Home for Girls in Bhagalpur, where the staff celebrated children’s birthdays. Despite a lack of space, sources said that the report pointed to the atmosphere at the shelter as quite positive.

At the ‘Children’s Homes’ in Katihar and the neighbouring district of Purnia, senior boys bonded with juniors by teaching them. At the Purnia home, children regularly interacted with “people outside.”

The report states, sources said, that the organisation also used a mobile application called Police Light to trace the families of children reported missing.

“Conditions were found to be very bad at 15 shelter homes, such as those in Muzaffarpur, Araria, Motihari, Munger, Gaya, Madhepura, Kaimur and Bhojpur,” Mr. Tarique said. Earlier, Principal Secretary of the State Social Welfare Department Atul Prasad had said the department had already taken the initiative to get things corrected at these centres.