Fake date-of-birth certificates issued by schools, particularly in the bordering States, are being misused by human trafficking syndicates to conceal the real age of victims, alleges non-government organisation Shakti Vahini.
In a letter to the Union Home Ministry, the NGO has put forth documentary proof to state that false birth-date certificates were issued in Assam. “Issuing school certificate without maintaining any records and the same being used in the judicial process in child trafficking cases is a major concern,” states the letter, stating that it was also a major concern in view of the country’s internal security.
The NGO pointed out that in a recent case of child trafficking from Kokrajhar in Assam to Delhi, the child was rescued from the residence of a businessman’s house in West Delhi. “In that case, a fake date of birth certificate was produced,” said the letter.
Ravi Kant of Shakti Vahini said the NGO wrote to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights which got the matter investigated by the Assam Government. The government found the certificate to be forged.
However, a Delhi Police officer probing the matter had earlier received confirmation from the school master that the document was genuine. On a complaint lodged by the NGO, the Delhi Police launched a vigilance inquiry into the allegations and based on the findings, initiated departmental action against the officer.
“Followed by the investigation, the office of the Director of Elementary Education, Assam Government, issued a notice for disciplinary and legal action against the delinquent officials. The department also issued notice to all the District Elementary Education officers and the Deputy Inspectors of School, Assam, to instruct all the block and circle level officers and school authority not to issue the age proof certificate or transfer certificates without maintaining school records,” said the NGO letter to the MHA.
Stating that it was in the interest of justice for the human trafficking victims, as well as for the internal security of the country, that fake certificates were not issued by schools, the NGO has urged the Home Ministry to issue necessary advisories to all the bordering States, including the human trafficking prone areas.