Finding and Recommendations on Occupation of Schools by Security Forces
Date - 15th February, 2017
The Manipur Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MCPCR) was constituted under Sect. 17 of Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005, and the Commission has been provided with certain powers, among others include :- Sec. 13 (a) inquire into complaints and take suo motu notice of matters relating to
(i) Deprivation and violation of child rights
(ii) Non- implementation of laws providing for protection of and development of children,
(iii) Non-compliance of policy decisions, guidelines or instruction aimed at mitigating hardships to and ensuring welfare of the children and provide relief to such children or take up the issues arising of such matters with appropriate matters.
Further, The Manipur Commission for Protection of Child Rights is mandated to be the authority for Monitoring of Child’s right to education under Sect 31 (a) of The Right of the Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009.
The Commission, under Section 31 of The Right of the Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, has been authorized:-
( a) to examine and review the safeguards for rights provided by or under this Act and recommend measures for their effective implementation.
(b) Inquire into complaints relating to child rights to free and compulsory education; and
(c) take necessary steps as provided under sections 15 and 24 of the said Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act.
The Manipur Commission for Protection of Child Rights, received a complaint from a registered society namely “ Integrated Women and Children Development Centre”, Thangmeiband Yumnam Leikai, Imphal West, on behalf of the 39 aggrieved children of a government run school namely Lilasing Khongnangkhong High School, Thangmeiband, stating that the said children who are the students of the school are not able to attend their regular classes owing to the deployment of the security forces and subsequent closer of the school.
The petitioner also mentioned that the academic session of the students was supposed to be started from the last 14th January, 2017. On visiting the said school on 10th February, 2017, the MCPCR team found that the school has been occupied by 1 Coy of Security Forces (BSF) since 20th December, 2016 following an order of Deputy Commissioner, Imphal West vide Order DC(IW)/1/CON/669/(L&O)/16 dated Imphal, the 20th December, 2016.
In the meantime, the issue has been exposed as a child rights body also has sought the attention of the state authority to vacate the schools as published in a local daily “The Imphal Free Press”, dated the 13th February, 2017, under the caption “Vacate Schools, MACR asked SF”.
MCPCR considers that using of School campus to station security troops either for temporary or permanent camps has been a major impediment to fulfill the aims and objects of Right to education of the children.
It tempers the school education as a whole, and specifically the very essence of Article 21- A and the Right of the Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009. As long as schools are occupied by security forces, a workable school atmosphere or serene academic environment is impossible. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), which was ratified by India on 11 November, 1992, mandated to take measures to encourage regular attendance at schools and reduction of drop-out rates (UNCRC Article 28).
Whereas, the main reason for unsafe migration or large scale transportation of children from Manipur to other states was found to be closely related with mass occupation of schools by security forces. In this regard, The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) conducted an enquiry under the directives of hon’ble Supreme Court of India (vide order dated 31.03.2010), and it was found many schools in the North East including Manipur being occupied by Security Personnel.
Henceforward, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India issued a direction vide its order dated 01.09. 2010 WP (C) No. 102 of 2007 in the matter of Exploitation of Children in Orphanages in the state of Tamil Nadu Vs UOI and Ors, as follows :
“…..The Schools, hostels and children home complex presently occupied by armed/security forces are vacated within a month’s time and it should be ensured that school buildings and hostels are not allowed to occupied by armed or security forces in future for whatever purpose”.
However, in contradiction of above directive of the Supreme Court, the State Government, through the concerned Deputy Commissioner, has requisitioned certain government schools for stationing security personnel in the month of December, 2016. The requisitioned schools included in the list are Lilasing Khongnangkhong High School, Thangmeiband, Imphal West, Nilapadma Hr. Secondary School, Sekmai, Imphal West and N. Tomchou Singh Hr. Secondary School Mayang Imphal, Imphal West.
It is reported that Nilapadama Hr. Secondary School was vacated recently. In the light of above findings, and particularly in compliance with the ruling of hon’ble Supreme Court of India, the State authority is hereby directed to vacate the presently occupied schools by security personnel for whatever purpose it may be, to ensure normal academic activities of the educational institutions without further delay. An action taken report in this regard, please be submitted to the Commission within seven days from the date of issue of this directive.
S. Shyamcharan Singh
* This information is sent by Manipur Child Commission who can be contacted at mcpcrmanipur(AT)gmail(DOT)com
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