Girl goes missing from govt orphanage

A girl has gone missing from the Markazi Falahi Itifal orphanage at Shalimar run by the government’s Social Welfare Department (SWD).
Girl goes missing from govt orphanage
Representational Pic

A girl has gone missing from the Markazi Falahi Itifal orphanage at Shalimar run by the government's Social Welfare Department (SWD).  

The missing girl was a beggar from Poonch brought to the orphanage by Child Welfare Committee (CWC) of Bandipora district in October.

This is the second time since then that the girl ran away from the orphanage.

"When first she tried to escape we found her at Hazratbal and now this is the second time she went missing and it's been couple of days she hasn't been traced," an official at the Social Welfare Department said on condition of anonymity.

Officials believe the problem has arisen after the ICPS has started interfering in the functioning of the orphanage that has the capacity to admit 25 girls.

With the implementation of ICPS, the vehicle for implementation of Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act, it is mandatory to create homes for children in need of care or in conflict with law. 

But the ICPS instead of creating new homes are lodging the children into orphanages created by social welfare department and some privately run shelters, eventually depriving them of the care and protection and making them vulnerable to abuse.

"In our orphanage at Shalimar we have girls who are mostly orphans and we have enrolled them to schools as well, but with the coming of other juveniles the schedule of the girls has got disturbed," said an official at social welfare department. 

"Sometimes the CWC get us juvenile girls who have committed some crime and ask us to keep them with these orphan girls which should not happen." 

The official feared that this mixing up will lead to more problems.

"Today one girl has run away, tomorrow more will follow the path so it's better if ICPS comes up with its own homes and keep juveniles there who are in need of care and protection so that they are properly taken care of."

Mission Director ICPS, G A Sofi, however, puts the blame on Social Welfare Department and questions the security of the girls there. 

"We are asking social welfare department that how did the girl runaway, because this home is run by them. The ICPS can send children to a registered home for temporary restoration. This is the second time she has absconded, where was the security guard when the girl escaped?" Sofi asked, adding that CWC was looking into the matter. 

"The girl has said that she is from Poonch, so the CWC has tried to connect to the Child welfare committee at Poonch and they sent their people to Mendhar area but didn't find the girl's family there."

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