GUWAHATI, Oct 30 � Amidst reports of �teenagers� from Assam being lured into anti-national activities, the Assam Government has issued notices to all the district child protection committees of the State asking them to make a survey on the existence of illegal/unregistered orphanages or children shelter homes.
The deputy commissioners and the superintendents of police of all the districts also come under the purview of the notices. While the deputy commissioner is the chairperson of the district child protection committee, the superintendent of police is one of the members of the committee concerned.
Assam, at present, has three government-run homes, while 22 private children homes are looked after by non-government organizations (NGOs) under the purview of the State Child Protection Society of the Social Welfare Department. A total of 790 inmates, including 352 girls, are currently housed by the 25 shelter homes.
As per a rough estimate, nearly 2,000 children, especially those orphaned by ethnic clashes and natural calamities, are residing in different orphanages in the State without the requisite permission/registration under the Juvenile Justice Act, which is a norm.
The vulnerability of orphaned or displaced children, especially teenagers, towards antisocial activities has emerged as a major challenge for Assam, especially in some select pockets. In the State, as on June this year, 1,821 cases of children in conflict with law are pending with the Juvenile Justice Board, which for many, is just the tip of the iceberg.
�There are reports of some unauthorized children homes/orphanages functioning in the State. Some of them might have been registered under the Societies Act which is not enough when it comes to sheltering children below 18 years of age,� an official of the Social Welfare Department told this reporter.