Editorial: Will Asifa get justice? 

Srinagar: The eight year old girl who fell to an inhuman act committed by a cop and another youth-it seems is far from getting any justice from the system that is so crammed up with irrelevant issues.

One the one hand various organizations who have stepped out brazenly are hell bent on seeking the release of the criminal cop who, according to the police investigation team is the culprit involved in this heinous crime and on the other hand the state government is playing to the gallery by not being serious in dealing with the cases of child sexual abuse.

The state government, it needs to be reminded is the only state where a law for preventing sexual abuse of children has not been implemented. This wrong committed by the government itself is letting off criminals like the one involved in the Kuthua rape and murder case of an eight year old innocent kid. 

The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, (POCSO), 2012, aims at providing protection to children (individuals below the age of 18) from sexual violence including sexual assault, sexual harassment, and the inclusion of children in pornography and provides for establishment of special courts for trials of such offenders and for related matters.

The clause (3) of the article 15 of the constitution, inter alia, empowers the state to make special provisions for children. Also, the state parties to the convention on the rights of the child are required to undertake all appropriate national, bilateral and multilateral measures to prevent – the inducement or coercion of a child to engage in any unlawful sexual activity, the exploitative use of children in prostitution or other unlawful sexual practices and the exploitative use of children in pornographic performance and materials.

Offenders can be sentenced to imprisonment between three and 10 years depending upon the nature of sexual assault under POSCO. The POSCO also has specific guidelines on how to report a case of child sexual abuse.

The law also calls for the designation of special courts. For the purpose of providing a speedy trial, the state government shall in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court, by notification in the Official Gazette, designate for each district a court of session to be a Special Court to try the offences under the Act.

The irony is that the department of Social Welfare has to implement this act, but the department has so far failed to act in this regard. The department though, need not ask anyone to implement it for it is the nodal department but as of now the state’s social welfare Minister is busy ensuring that his coterie gets plum postings and positions in his department.

The time and efforts the Minister uses to seek appointments in the department he is heading, for his acquaintances and friends even half of that time would not be required to get some work done on implementing this crucial act so that our children can walk alone with some sense of security. 

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