Children Behind bars in Odisha for no crime of theirs !

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21 boys and 25 girls are living in prisons in Odisha with their mothers, who are serving sentences, and have no access to court-mandated welfare. Forty-six children, aged between one month and six years, now live in prisons with their mothers, who are serving sentences for crimes from murder to kidnapping to drug dealing. Of the 25 girls and 21 boys, many are old enough to go to school. But they don’t. Nine mothers are convicts, while 36 are under-trials. Of the 45 mothers, 30 belong to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.

According to the SC guidelines, children below three years shall be allowed in crèche and those between two and three years should be looked after in nursery. The prison authorities should run crèche and nursery outside the prison premises. Small children should not be kept in sub-jails unless facilities are ensured for their biological, psychological and social growth,” the guidelines say.

Ms. Sujata shivers recollecting her first day after shifting to a Bhubaneswar jail. “The authorities put me and my daughter in a 6X6 feet solitary cell for 24 hours. In that dark room, she cried for hours but the warders turned a deaf ear. The next day, we had to plead with the authorities to free us from it,” she said.

Further, once they turn six, children must be handed over to a guardian as per the wishes of the mother or sent to an institution run by the Social Welfare Department. However, prison staff allegedly manipulate the children’s age to avoid official processes for complying with SC guidelines.

Please sign the petition so that things will change for this 46 children! When the children need to play and enjoy their childhood their future is darkened in dungeons. What wrong did they do? Is it their crime to born as children to accused or convicts?

This will change the future of these kids. As someone said "We can count the seeds in an apple but we can never count the apples in a seed". Who knows there may be future IAS or IPS in these kids? Let us intervene.