Committee Headed by Chief Secy in Kerala to Ensure Justice & Early Disposal of POCSO Cases
The secretaries of departments of home, education, health, social justice, law and SC/ST development will be made members of the panel that would have to submit a report to the government every two months.
File photo of Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan.
Thiruvananthapuram: Facing heat over the recent acquittal of four accused in a Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) case on the mysterious deaths of two sisters, the Kerala government on Tuesday decided to set up a committee headed by the chief secretary for effective handling of cases relating to sexual exploitation of children.
The committee, to be formed by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, would try to ensure efficient handling of the cases and their disposal at the earliest.
The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by the chief minister who said counselling facilities should be made available for children in all schools and they should be encouraged to speak about any assault even if that has happened at their homes.
Counsellors would be trained and sensitised on the law, he added. Awareness should be created among parents to avoid any form of violence towards their wards and teachers should talk to them in this regard. The education department would be in charge of this.
Also, child welfare officers in every police station must stay in regular contact with schools in their areas. Efforts would be made to set up more POCSO courts in the state and necessary funds would be made available.
The CM further said proper sex education should be included in the school curriculum, while directing the authorities to ensure that sale of narcotic substances near schools is strictly prohibited
The meeting also decided to strengthen cyber forensic laboratories to end cyber crimes against children. Meanwhile, Vijayan asked the social justice department and police to provide protection to women who stay on their own.
Finance minister Thomas Isaac, Health minister KK Shylaja, Education minister C Raveedranath and Chief Secretary Tom Jose were among those who attended.
The secretaries of departments of home, education, health, social justice, law and SC/ST development will be made members of the committee that would have to submit a report to the government every two months.
The meeting was held against the backdrop of the criticism being faced by the LDF government following the recent acquittal of 4 accused for lack of adequate evidence in the case relating to the sexual assault and suspicious deaths of two minor sisters at Walayar in Palakkad district in 2017.
The National Human Rights Commission had recently said there were 9,000 POCSO cases pending in Kerala.
(WIth inputs from PTI)
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