Gauhati High Court takes suo moto after UTSAH rakes up a child sexual abuse case in Sivasagar, on its social media handle – The Assam Tribune publishes the story – Gauhati High Court takes suo moto PIL
News 1: Sexual abuse in Sivasagar children’s home: The Assam Tribune: 19 Dec 2018
GUWAHATI- Chilling details of sexual and physical abuse inflicted upon girl inmates of children home at Sivasagar has come to the fore. Worse, one of the survivors even attempted to end her life after finding all doors closed in her pursuit for justice!
The girl along with two other inmates was allegedly subjected to sexual and physical abuse by the superintendent of the children home.
The matter first came to light when the Child Welfare Committee, Sivasagar received information regarding the escape of three girls from Swapnalaya Children Home on September 3 from the District Child Protection Officer, Sivasagar.
Later, the girls were rescued and upon being asked about the reason behind their move, horrifying details of sexual and physical abuse inflicted on them allegedly by the superintendent of the home, Parag Goswami, came to light.
The victims also alleged that the housemother, Gita Kakati, too used to torture them, and unable to bear the agony, they decided to run away. The statements of the three girls were recorded by a member of the CWC.
This is not the first case of sexual and physical abuse of children home inmates, something that has raised question marks on the functioning of child care institutions (CCIs) across the country.
The case has now attracted criticism from various quarters with child rights organization UTSAH seeking the Chief Minister’s intervention into the matter.
In a letter to the Chief Minister, Miguel Das Queah of UTSAH has demanded action against the Superintendent of Police, Sivasagar and the closure of Swapnalaya Children’s Home, Sivasagar with immediate effect.
“I received a letter from one of the victims where she stated about her ordeal and the agony of seeing the perpetrators of crime roaming freely,” Queah said, adding that the accused should be brought to book forthwith as they may try to influence the investigation.
Queah also demanded that the victims of sexual and physical abuse be transferred to a safer child care institution and steps taken to rehabilitate them. He also demanded a social audit of the CCIs.
Questions are also being raised on the efficacy of the police department which is apparently washing its hand off the case. An FIR was lodged on September 3 by the Oikya Sena Asom against Parag Goswami and the housemother of Swapnalaya and accordingly, a case was registered under IPC and POCSO Act.
Goswami, however, could not be contacted despite several attempts made by this reporter.
News 2: High Court asks SP to file the report in sexual abuse case: The Assam Tribune: 18 Jan 2019
GUWAHATI- Based on a report published in The Assam Tribune on December 20, 2018, the Gauhati High Court today asked the Superintendent of Police (SP), Sivasagar to submit a detailed report on the sexual abuse case in a children’s home in the district.
The Court had taken a suo moto public interest litigation (number 1/2019) based on the news report published in this newspaper titled ‘Sexual abuse in Sivasagar children’s home’.
Taking note of the news report in its entirety, a division bench comprising Chief Justice AS Bopanna and Justice Arup Goswami Court fixed January 28 as the next date of hearing on which date the SP concerned has been directed to submit the detailed report on the investigation.
Advocate Siddhartha Shankar Dey appeared as the amicus curie in the case.
The Assam Tribune had reported allegations of sexual and physical abuse inflicted on three girl inmates of the children’s home by its superintendent and the housemother of the home along with the need for reviewing the functioning of all the children homes in the State.
Miquel Das Queah of Utsah, a child rights organization, also took up the matter and also wrote to the Chief Minister demanding the closure of the home and justice for the victims.
Although the superintendent of the children home in question, Parag Goswami, could not be reached at the time of filing the report, he later contacted this correspondent claiming innocence.
Goswami alleged that he has been framed by some people with vested interest.
“The allegations brought against me are fabricated with no basis. The inmates of the home were misled to level allegations against me. The truth will prevail. I have full faith in the justice delivery system,” Goswami had asserted.
The respondents in the case are the Department of Social welfare, Home and Political Department, Director General of Assam Police and Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights.