IMPHAL August 17: “There are no issues which cannot be resolved, what we need is coordination and sincerity to address it”, said prof. Shantha Sinha, chairperson, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) during the first day of the two day State Level Public Hearing on children affected by HIV / AIDS and Drug Abuse and RTE, child trafficking and other child issue, starting today at Kangla conference hall, Kangla Fort, Imphal.
After deliberate discussions on numerous cases related to the issue, the NCPCR has today directed the state government to resolve the cases which were deliberated upon today within a definite time frame according to their individual needs. 23 cases related to children affected by HIV / AIDS and Drug Abuse and RTE, child trafficking and other child issue were heard during the first days’ sitting today. The public hearing event will continue till tomorrow.
The commission asserted during the later part of the proceeding that, a monitoring committee should be formed comprising of representatives of NGOs from the state to look after the proceedings of the work implementation in solving the cases by the state government and its related departments.
The complainants who mostly comprised of orphans whose parent have succumbed to HIV/SIDS, deposed before the jury narrating their deprivations, discriminations and stigmatism faced on a daily basis in the society.
Among the cases that were heard today, the juries observed that several of them are deemed necessary for long-term policies to resolve their grievances. In this connection, the commission asserted that recommendations would be made to the Central and State government to form a new long-term policy for this purpose.
The prof Shantha Sinha led NCPCR team also include Dipa Dixit, member, NCPCR and Satya Gopal Dey (Child Rights and You -Kolkatta).
G. Satyabati Devi, director, social welfare department, Ashok Kumar, project director, Manipur State AIDS Control Society (MACS), W. Rajen Singh, director, department of education (s), R.K. Dinesh. D.C, Thoubal, was among several officials representing social welfare department, MACS and department of education (S) as summoned by the commission.
Reacting on a case presented before the jury, Prof. Shantha urged the government departments concerned to come up with strategies on how best a child can be made to live with dignity.
“It is for the government to come up with a care plan for this young girl. She has challenged you and our capacities to address her rights”. She made these observations after Seema (name changed) deposed her case before the commission. Seema’s grandfather, who deposed along with her today, lost his son and daughter-in-law to AIDS leaving behind Seema in his care. The commission demanded a plan for Seema and report from the departments concerned after three months from now.” Tell me after three months how her health, height and weight has improved” she stated.
Sharing before the jury, Rani (name changed), a widow and living with HIV, said that her meager income is unable to meet her son’s expenses. There have been attempts by her in–laws to drive her out of her husband’s residence.
“I earn around Rs 1500 to 2000 per month reeling silk, but it is barely enough to take care of my medical expenses and my son’s education. I have heard of schemes but don’t know the details and have never applied for any”, Rani narrated her grievances before the jury. Rani lost her husband when his son, now nine, was around five years old. A large part of her son’s education is being supported by CRS. Rani is worried that she won’t be able to support his education after the CRS Project ends.
The commission further directed all district commissioners to gather data on the number of Children infected and affected by HIV and AIDS in their respective districts and review their conditions. Underlining lack of awareness among the people of the existing government schemes in the state, Prof. Shantha urged officials concerned to reach out rather than wait for people to come to them.
Highlighting issues of children in the state, L. Deepak, president, Manipur Network of Positive People (MNP+), said “we haven’t been heard for so many years. Such hearing will make government departments take notice of issues confronting us”. Appreciating NCPCR’s initiative he said it will go a long way in forging government – NGO partnerships and improving service delivery.
Stressing on the issue of discrimination against people living with HIV and AIDS, prof. Shantha urged Ashok Kumar, project director, Manipur State AIDS Control Society, to look into the matter.
Lucy (name changed) was allegedly ill treated and neglected during the delivery of her last child at RIMS. In another case in 2009 her HIV positive son was reportedly denied treatment of a tooth condition by the same hospital on flimsy grounds. She narrated that one of the official of the hospital had informed her that the equipments had to be cleaned and had to wait for some days. She further added that at other times she was told that the person in-charged of her case had not arrived yet.
Speaking at the occasion Y. Shashikanta Singh, convener, Drugs and HIV/AIDS workers, said that such public hearings are important.