As India continues to battle a severe second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, many children across the country were being rendered homeless with their parents dying from the infection. Taking note of the situation, Union Minister Smriti Irani on Tuesday informed that such children should be brought to the police or a district’s Child Welfare Committee in order to ensure their protection.
“If you come to know of any child who has lost both parents to Covid and has no one to take care of her/him, inform Police or Child Welfare Committee of your district or contact Childline 1098. It is your legal responsibility," she said.
The Union Minister for Women and Child Development (WCD) said that it was illegal to adopt orphan children and that such kids should be directly brought to the notice of officials. “It is illegal to give or take orphan children of any one else in adoption. Such children should be taken to Child welfare committee, which will take necessary action in the best interest of the child," she said.
“If anyone contacts you regarding orphan children available for direct adoption, do not get into the trap and stop them. It’s illegal. Inform local Child welfare Committee or Police or Childline 1098 about such children," she further said.
She added that illegal adoption could also lead to trafficking of children. “We all must ensure legal adoption, otherwise children can be trafficked in the name of adoption. Save them. Inform Police or Child Welfare Committee or Childline 1098 if you come to know of any such child," the minister tweeted.
The identity of the children in distress should also be protected, hence, the minister requested not to share pictures of details of the such children on social media. “Please do not share pictures and contact detail of vulnerable children in distress situation in social media. Their identity is to be protected as per law. Instead, inform police, Child welfare committee or Childline 1098," she said in a series of tweets.
Maha Sets Up Special Cell for Children
The Maharashtra government has announced a special cell to protect children orphaned due to the Covid-19 pandemic or any other reason, an official said on Tuesday.
A statement from the state Women and Child Development department said there were reports of anti-social elements trying to take advantage of children whose parents had died from the coronavirus infection.
It said there were reports of such children being illegally adopted for trafficking purposes and asked people to call on special helpline 1098 or the State Adoption Resource Agency to alert authorities in case they came across such incidents.