Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisodia on Friday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of sabotaging the Delhi government-initiated 'Desh Ke Mentor' programme with the help of National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), which has recommended that the programme be suspended until the safety "loopholes" are "overhauled".
"A BJP activist from Chhattisgarh has filed a complaint with NCPCR, who in return asked us about the steps we have taken to ensure children's safety. After we have answered each and every question of theirs, NCPCR has stated that no police verification is being done of the mentees," he said during a press conference.
"NCPCR has further said that there is a probability of child trafficking via phone calls and asked whether there is any mechanism to prevent the origin of cybercrime and child trafficking," Delhi Deputy Chief Minister said, sharing that on the above-mentioned grounds the commission has asked to "immediately suspend the concerned scheme initiative".
"It means, if an IIT and IIM graduate student wishes to mentor a government school student to help him or her succeed in life, then the BJP will blame them for committing cybercrime," he said, adding that this step shows "how the BJP does not wish to see the youth of this country progressing".
Launched in October 2021, the programme aims to provide voluntary mentors to students from Class 9 to 12. Those aged between 18 and 35 can sign up to become mentors through an app developed by Delhi Technological University.
The Commission stated that it received a representation from one Lalit Wadher last year, who alleged that the programme allows children to get in contact with "unknown persons", and exposes them to danger.
To which, Sisodia said: "Those who volunteered to be mentors are made to undergo a psychometric test, their educational background is taken care of and they are trained accordingly, only after which they are assigned a mentee. We have also ensured that mentees are only assigned mentors of the same gender."
On Thursday, AAP MLA Atishi held a press conference over the suspension of the mentorship programme and said that this latest move of the BJP showed the shallowness of the party and its government machinery.
So far, 1,74,000 mentees have been mentored by 44,000 mentors under the programme, Sisodia told the media.
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