Probe promised into mentally challenged child’s torture

March 21st, 2008 - 11:34 pm ICT by admin  

Chennai, March 21 (IANS) Tamil Nadu Social Welfare Minister Poongothai Aladi Aruna Friday promised an inquiry against a government care institution where a mentally challenged boy was allegedly tortured. Manikandan, 11, was admitted to the government-run Institute for the Mentally Retarded, a special institute in Chennai, by his parents in 2006.

A human rights group rescued Manikandan from the institute which hosts nearly 80 mentally challenged boys.

Alleging torture at the hands of his caretakers, the family has now taken the child home.

Manikandan’s mother Gandhimathi complained to the media here that the child was severely tortured at the institution. The child’s body has severe burn marks and his knees have festering wounds. The mother said he was fettered to the bed all the time.

When media persons asked why Manikandan was not given medical attention that he urgently needs, Poongothai Aladi Aruna said: “Investigation will be conducted against the institution and action will be taken against the guilty.”

The institution maintained that Manikandan was not tortured. “The boy is not fit for our institute. But due to political pressure, we admitted him,” project officer of the institution Suganthi told the media persons.

Suganthi said that most of the child’s injuries were because of his being “hyperactive”.

This is not the first time that child abuse cases are being alleged against government institutions.

Sivakumar, 12, who studied in a government-aided school, registered a complaint with the Commissioner of Police in Chennai March 13, claiming that he was so badly beaten up by a teacher in the school that his hand broke.

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights Jan 24 heard 45 rights violation complaints in a Chennai hearing. Twelve of these cases had ended in deaths of the children. Among the guilty were government-aided institutions for economically underprivileged children.

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