Pune: The death of a 16-year-old boy during Wednesday’s ‘rasta roko’ in Ashti village, Nanded, has highlighted the need to protect children from incidents of violence.
A large number of children had participated in the Maharashtra Bandh called by some political outfits on Wednesday. Experts working in the field of child rights have termed the use of children in protests dangerous. On Wednesday, boys as young as four years old were seen protesting on the streets in areas like Navi Peth, Yerawada and Pimpri-Chinchwad. The children were armed with sticks and stones. A video of a child carrying a stone in his hand had also gone viral.
An official from the Women and Child Development Department said that the use of children in protests is against the law. “You are putting the life of a child in danger if you push him to take part in a protest. Parents need to take care of children. Police officials can certainly take action in such cases,” added the official.
Speaking on the circulation of videos and photos of protesting children on social media, another official from the Women and Child Development Department said, “By doing this, you are revealing the identity of a child. We must understand that the situation is of a riot, which is violent, and we should keep children away from it and not push them into such violent conditions.”
Social worker Zaid Syyed, who works for child rights, said that children are the future of a country. “A child must be taught about secularism and the concept of ‘We the people’. By pushing these children into protests, we are spoiling the future of the child and the nation,” said Syyed.
Speaking on the issue, Advocate Amina M Mujawar said that the Juvenile Justice Act takes care of such issues. “If somebody uses children for riots and protests, it can amount to criminal conspiracy and trafficking. We must realise that if this is not stopped by the government agencies, it will cause trouble in the future. It is also time for the government to introspect over the way they are running the nation and protect democracy,” said Mujawar.