first_imgThe Odisha government has asked all district collectors to take steps to uphold secular credential of all child care institutions (CCIs) in the State.The directive came in wake of observations of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) that certain CCIs were giving over emphasis on specific religion.“During various inspection visits to CCIs in various parts of the country, certain contrary yet significant trend came to notice of the commission. On one hand, children belonging to particular religion are being placed in homes managed by religious institution of the same faith was evident,” stated Priyank Kanoongo, NCPCR chairperson in a letter addressed to all chief secretaries.“Though this is done with the direction of Child Welfare Committees, it is not in consonance with the spirit of secular principles upheld in the Constitution of India,” noted Mr. Kanoongo.“On the one hand, it was observed during visits in the government as well as NGO-cum-CCIs that there is another set of homes where children are placed in CCIs irrespective of their religion, but religious texts pertaining to specific religion are being taught to all children. Bible was seen being taught in some CCIs during inspections,” said NCPCR chairperson.Observing that children who are in need of care and protection face multiple deprivations and are vulnerable to get influenced, he said according to United Nations Conventions on the Rights of Child, State parties undertake to respect the right of child to preserve his or her identity, including nationality, name and family relations as recognized by law without unlawful interference.“In both cases, one of the most vulnerable groups of children is deprived of their basic rights as individuals and citizen of the country,” said Mr. Kanoongo.The NCPCR recommended that corrective measures be taken to uphold the right to identity of one of the most vulnerable group of children.Following the NCPCR missive, the Women and Child Development and Mission Shakti directed all collectors to be vigilant for maintaining a secular environment in the CCIs of their respective districts.last_img