Deputy director of women welfare dept suspended

PANJIM: Deputy Director Shanti Harding of the Department of Women and Child Welfare Development was suspended on Tuesday after an inquiry found her guilty of illegally releasing five juveniles from Apna Ghar last month.

The suspension comes hardly a month after she took over at Apna Ghar. Department sources said she was appointed to this post on October 18 replacing its first deputy director Francis Ferrao.
The department had initiated an internal inquiry based on a complaint filed by NGO SCAN-India alleging that five children – admitted to Apna Ghar on October 29 were released without following procedures and they were found begging in the city.

In its letter to Goa government and the department, the NGO alleged that the officer was encouraging child beggary in the State.

“It appears that the deputy director is all out to encourage child beggary in Goa. While the State and the Goa State Commission for Children are taking necessary steps to curtail and eradicate child beggary in Goa”, NGO Director Emidio Pinho said in the letter.

Sources said the inquiry findings pointed out that she had no role nor was empowered under Juvenile Justice Act 2000 to release the children from the institution without specific orders of the Child Welfare Committee or Juvenile Justice Board, which are Competent Authority under the Act.

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