The Maharashtra Commission for Protection of Child rights (MCPCR) visited the Byculla jail yesterday to probe the allegation of children of inmates being used as human shields during the riot that broke out there last month.
Sheena Bora murder accused Indrani Mukerjea allegedly used kids of other inmates as human shields when jail officials had lathi-charged the prisoners.
Investigating the charges, the commission officials found out that there are 285 female inmates and 17 kids in the 0-6-year age group. In the hour-long visit, they also spoke to the prisoners about their views on safety in the jail and made inquiries on whether the children and any women were harmed during the riot.
The officials checked where the kids are kept in the jail — with their mothers or in a separate area. They also suggested that a separate cell be made for the young ones, so that such incidents don't affect them mentally and turn them violent.
Speaking to mid-day, commission head Pravin Gughe said, "We checked how many pregnant women are there in the jail and whether the kids in the jail are getting an opportunity to study, because they have a right to education."
The officials said the children's security and health was of utmost importance and they would look into it. They will prepare a report of their findings along with their recommendations and send it to the state government within 15 days.
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