In violation of Juvenile Justice Act, children taken to hospital handcuffed for treatment
The only Juvenile Home in Kashmir, which has received 1153 juveniles during the past seven years, lacks the mandatory medical facilities.
According to the Jammu and Kashmir Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2013, it is mandatory for a Juvenile Home to have the medical facilities, including doctor on call, on all working days for regular medical check-ups and treatment of the juveniles.
The social welfare department has been tasked with providing these facilities.
According to the Act, every institution shall maintain a medical record of each juvenile or child on the basis of monthly medical check-up and provide necessary medical facilities, ensure that the medical record includes weight and height record, any sickness and its treatment.
The Juvenile Home is required to coordinate with the local hospitals, clinical psychologists and psychiatrists and mental health institutes for regular visits by doctors/students and for holding periodic health camps within the institution.
“Make necessary arrangements for the immunisation coverage, and ensure segregation of juvenile or children in the event of break out of contagious or infectious diseases,” the Act stipulates.
In practice, however, it has been observed that juveniles are taken to hospital in case of illness and too handcuffed, an act which violates the Act.
“We are in dire need of a doctor here. When children get unwell we either take them to hospital in our private vehicles at our own risk or request the police station Harwan for a vehicle,” said an official of the Home, requesting anonymity.
The Home also does not have a vehicle of its own.
Minister for social welfare Sajad Lone said the department “does provide medical facilities” to the Home.
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights had in a 2012 report pointed out loopholes in infrastructure meant for juveniles in Kashmir.
According to the 25-page report, the Home at Harwan “gives a feeling that the children are kept in a jail”.
Via Greater Kashmir