Pune: The issue of taking responsibility of a 14-year-old mentally challenged boy, who was found abandoned at the railway station in the wee hours of Friday, led to war of words between Child Welfare Committee (CWC) and Childline members.
The members of the Childline alleged that both police and CWC officials were apathetic to the child, who needed immediate medical attention. CWC officials weren’t ready to take custody of the child claiming, he wasn’t their responsibility and it took over 12 hours before the child, who had an epileptic fit, could be admitted to a hospital.
While on the other hand, CWC officials denied this claiming the delay was not intentional. According to them, the committee had new members who took some time to understand the procedures.In an email to dna, Childline director Anuradha Sahastrabuddhe wrote that instead of handing over the mentally challenged boy to CWC, he was entrusted to a Childline staffer. “We contacted CWC officials, but they refused to accept the child’s responsibility saying they have no idea what to do with such a child. They refused shelter arrangements, even the 24-hour drop-in centre didn’t take the child. The child was injured but denied first aid, hungry but no one had bothered to feed him. It was only when we contacted the District Women and Child Welfare officer that CWC officials agreed to take the child,” claimed Sahastrabuddhe.
However the CWC officials have a different story to tell. “We had received a call at 2am about a boy found at the railway station and by 4am, we took him from the police station where Childline staffers were taking care of him. Initially, we found it difficult to arrange for his shelter as all the homes for special children come under social welfare department and our homes are for abandoned and street children and don’t have facilities for special children. Yet, we took him to the remand home and later, shifted him to the Sassoon Hospital by 4pm for treatment,” said Yogendra Kulkarni, a CWC member.
He added that the committee was new and had never dealt with any such case. “We now have time until Wednesday to arrange shelter for him. As far as food and first-aid is concerned, the boy is being taken care of,” added Kulkarni.