Alappuzha: The decision of the social justice department (SJD) to relocate inmates of the children’s home at Mayithara in Alappuzha to other districts and accommodate destitute girls there has caused a stir as the home also hosts an observation home where boys accused in criminal cases stay.
The home, run by the district Child Welfare Committee, was set up in 2008 to rehabilitate destitute children, children facing threats to their lives in various forms, children who are ill and have no access to healthcare and those who are exploited for illegal activities and those used for illegal labour. At present there are 27 children at the home.
District child protection officer Sabu Joseph, armed with an order by the SJD director T.V. Anupama and accompanied by police, however, failed to take the seven children who were there at the home away on Saturday as they scampered fearing the police. The one child who was caught was later translocated to Children’s Home, Kollam. The other children are at their homes on vacation.
It is understood that Alappuzha legislator and finance minister Dr T.M. Thomas Isaac has taken up the matter with SJD minister K.K. Shailaja and requested her to put the decision, taken in 2015, on hold. The SJD director and the district child protection officer were unavailable for comments.
Sources familiar with the development blame the ego clash among district level SJD officers for the decision to change the status of the well-managed home. The section of officers who support the decision points out that girls do not have a protection home in the district. However, the others say the changed status of the home will help officials earn faster promotions and hence the haste. They also point out that the recently-revamped Mahilamandiram, a home for women run by SJD, has a lot of vacancies. The observation home at present have children including the five juveniles involved in Anandu murder case in Vayalar. “To host girls on the same campus is not a welcome move,” they pointed out.