SHILLONG, Nov 02: The Meghalaya High Court has provided some succor to the abandoned children in Meghalaya by directing the state government to take steps to ensure the safety of these children in Shillong and other districts of the state.
While hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by one Khroolamsalanki Pariat from Mission Compound, Jowai, the division bench comprised of Chief Justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir and Justice SR Sen in an order issued on Thursday said, “In the meanwhile, the respondents shall take necessary steps in the context of the matter so that welfare state object is achieved.”
The bench has also ordered that notice be issued to the chief secretary, commissioner & secretary of Urban Affairs department and commissioner & secretary of Social Welfare department keeping in view the urgency involved in the matter.
It has also directed the state authorities to file response by or before November 12. The next hearing on the matter will be held on November 13.
It may be mentioned here that Pariat had submitted a petition to Justice SR Sen on October 23 seeking his intervention into the need to set up Night Shelter Houses for abandoned children.
“Your Honour, it will be of great blessing for the abandoned children if Night Shelter Houses can be made in each and every district headquarter of the state. It should be started with Shillong, Jowai and Tura,” Pariat stated in his petition.
He said being a concerned citizen, he cannot just watch and weep over the condition of the abandoned children seen during night time, especially as winter is approaching. “But as I have limited resources and a weakling financially, I am scared that my voice will not be heard by the government authority even if I raise the issue before them,” he said.
Stating that the abandoned children are not orphans, he said they are from poverty stricken families and they equally deserve a minimum protection of their lives from the cold winter nights.
From footpath dwellers, if not all, some of those children can also become bricks of the nation if provided with minimum help and support. To be able to live, those children, during day time are selling Kwai and some kind of religious booklets etc and sleep under any kind of shades available with minimum coverage during night, he said.
Pariat further alleged that due to the ignorant attitude shown by the government to these children, they feel totally left out and directionless and end up becoming addicts to some kind of abusive substances (like dendrite sniffing etc) simply to kill their feelings of loneliness and frustration in life.
Meanwhile, he said that the Night Shelter Houses should not be solely for sheltering purpose only, they should also serve as Personality and Skill Development Centres.
Night Shelter Houses should have a regular night school which will also part some kind of basic technical training to them in the field of Carpentry, Electrical, Plumbing, Civil works etc besides others.
A 2+1 hour training program may be given to them, in the form of regular classes and training every night from 6PM to 9PM. “This will help in transforming and giving them an opportunity of living their life with dignity,” Pariat stated.