Kerala govt to set up panel for effective handling of POCSO cases

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Kerala govt to set up panel for effective handling of POCSO cases

Thiruvananthapuram: Facing heat over the recent acquittal of four accused in a POCSO case on the mysterious deaths of two sisters, the Kerala government on Tuesday decided to set up a committee headed by the Chief Secretary for effective handling of cases relating to sexual exploitation of children.A high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan directed that all schools should have counselling facilities for children and they should become courageous enough to narrate any sexual exploitation even at home.

Training would be provided to the counsellors for this, a press release from the Chief Minister's office (CMO) said, adding that sex education should become part of the curriculum.Sale of narcotic substances near schools should be strictly prohibited and police and excise officials should ensure this. The meeting also decided to strengthen cyber forensic laboratories to end cyber crimes against children.

Efforts would be made to set up more Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) courts in the state and necessary funds would be made available.Finance minister Thomas Isaac, Health minister K. K. Shylaja, Education minister C. Raveedranath and chief secretary Tom Jose were among those who attended.Secretaries of various departments, including Home, Education, Health, SC-ST, will be members of the committee, which will meet once in two months and submit a report to the government, the release said.

The meeting was held against the backdrop of the criticism being faced by the LDF government following the recent acquittal of 4 accused for lack of adequate evidence in the case relating to the sexual assault and suspicious deaths of two minor sisters at Walayar in Palakkad district in 2017.The National Human Rights Commission had recently said there were 9000 POCSO cases pending in Kerala.