Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Tuesday sought a report from Director Social Welfare after it was informed that all the inmates in an orphanage at Nishat in the outskirts of Srinagar have gone missing since the uprising began in Kashmir Valley. The orphanage had said that the children had been taken away by their guardians.
“We are unable to fathom as to how all the boys and girls have been taken away,” a division bench of Justices Ramalingam Sudhakar and Ali Mohammad Magrey observed after perusal of a preliminary report submitted by two government lawyers who paid a visit to the orphanage— Markazi Falai Itifal—on the directions of the court on Tuesday morning. The lawyers told the court that no record of the discharge of the children was available in the premises of the orphanage.
The lawyers—Mohammad Ashraf and MI Dar—also produced before the court photographs which they took of the building and facilities that were in place for children living in the orphanage.
“We find from the photographs that the condition of the building is very, very bad. Most of the facilities have rusted and articles have become unusable,” the court said, observing that the condition was worse than that depicted in a report submitted by senior advocate and amicus curie BA Bashir on May 9, 2013.
“This calls for stern action from the court to awaken the social welfare department from deep slumber. However, before proceeding further and in order to deal with various issues, we feel it necessary to direct the Director Social Welfare to visit the orphanage along with Javaid Bukhari, executive engineer R&B, to make an assessment and submit a preliminary report,” the court said. It asked that the report specify details of the discharge of the boys and girls who are said to have been taken away by their guardians, and also of the infrastructure, such as, proper ventilation in rooms, fans, mattresses, personal locker facilities, toilets and bathrooms, reading tables, books, computers, and the accommodation for girls.
The executive engineer has been asked to submit the report regarding the condition of the building and infrastructure. “The preliminary report will be submitted before the court by noon tomorrow,” the court said and directed the registrar to list the PIL, initiated on the basis of a news report in 2013, on Wednesday.
The news report had highlighted that the basic rights of the children had been denied to them and they were suffering from anaemia and other serious medical ailments. It also revealed that authorities were forcing the children to do menial jobs like washing clothes and sweeping floors.