46 children imprisoned in Odisha for nothing

Forty-six children, one month and six years, now live in prisons with their mothers, who are imprisoned as punishment for crimes from murder to kidnapping to drug dealing. Of the 25 girls and 21 boys, many are old enough to get schooling. But they don’t.

In response to an RTI application by human rights lawyer Biswapriya Kanungo, Odisha’s Directorate of Prisons and Correctional Services said nine mothers are convicts, while 36 are undertrials. Of the 45 mothers, 30 belong to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.

According to the RTI reply, one of the imprisoned mothers, lodged in the Pallahara sub-jail in Angul district, has been granted bail, but cannot be free as she is unable to furnish sureties. But the RTI reply doesn’t tell the date of grant of bail, nor the surety amount.

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Some others have been imprisoned for petty offences for which they should have got bail long ago. But there are eight mothers who are incarcerated for four years.

“Children lodged in jails with their mothers are neither convicts nor undertrials. They are entitled to food, shelter, medical care, clothing, education and recreational facilities,” points out Mr. Kanungo.


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