Displaced children in relief camps Advisories from MCPCR
The number of displaced persons has been pegged at anywhere above the 50 thousand mark but there is as yet no data on the number of children who make up the 50 thousand number of displaced persons. Perhaps this is something which the relevant Government authority would do well to work out and make it public. It is in keeping with the rights of children and to ensure that whatever possible is done for their welfare that the Manipur Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MCPCR) has come out with a list of dos and don’ts for children staying at the relief centres spread across the length and breadth of the State. Enrol them in the neighbourhood schools is one such advisory that has been issued and while there is no data on whether any of the displaced children have been forced to discontinue with their studies, it is nonetheless significant that the MCPCR has deemed it necessary to headline its advisories with this instruction. The question is how many children are among those taking refuge in the different relief centres ? An answer to this would be highly welcomed and out of them how many are actually going to school and how many have been forced to drop out ? Given that many families have lost their source of income and given the manner in which the economy of the State has been hit badly, this question should be relevant. The Government must be tied up with the numerous issues that have arisen following May 3, 2023, but the plight of children is something that cannot be ignored. Another important point which the MCPCR has raised is the directive to the different schools to ensure that no child is forced to drop out due to the inability of the parents, elders and others of the family to meet their financial requirements. This is where the relevant Government Departments must be asked to step in and see what they can do. School uniforms, text books and stationery items should be provided to the displaced children on a priority basis as asked by the MCPCR. For those who are better placed, perhaps they may be asked to donate whatever they can to meet the study requirements of the children who have been forced out of their homes and survive in the many relief centres set up all over the State. This is where the Government must step in and take the lead. Show the way is the one line suggestion that comes to mind. The public too need to respond positively to any course of action taken up by the Government for the sake of the displaced children and perhaps this is where voluntary organisations may mobilise public participation to contribute for the sake of the children, whose lives have been so mercilessly uprooted in the madness unleashed by the machination of some adults who have an agenda of their own. Health, nutrition including piping hot cooked food, recreation are some of the points raised by the MCPCR and the point is, nothing should be left to chance to let the children experience a ‘normal’ growing up period.
Just one day before the MCPCR came out with its list of advisories for children in relief centres, came the news of the Social Welfare Department getting in touch with their Maharashtra counterpart and ensuring the rescue of five children from a school at Nashik. Of the five children thus rescued, one bears tell tale signs of being assaulted in the school and in the present context, when so many children are currently surviving in different relief centres, the need to be cautious has become all that more important. It is in keeping this reality that the MCPCR also issued another notification asking parents, guardians, agencies or organi- sations concerned to furnish details of children who have been sent outside Manipur for their further studies as well as details of the institutions where they are studying. Parents, guardians and elders opting for something better for their children is a given, more so when they have been displaced and the education of their youngsters seems to be at the crossroad but this is all the more reason for everyone to be more cautious than ever before. The MCPCR seems to be on track to keep a tab on the welfare of children in the different relief centres and it is only right that the people as a whole respond accordingly. Manipur is suffering, more so the children, especially those who have been driven out of their homes and it is only right that due thoughts are given to the plight of the many children staying at the different relief centres. One also hopes the State Govt comes out with some plan of action for the displaced kids.