Three persons were reportedly arrested in Assam for using a minor girl in a Congress rally against the government. According to reports, the Lakhimpur police has filed a case on the issue as the little girl was dragged around the town while being made to sit on a Dhokua (dried betel-nut tree leaf).
The police have reportedly arrested the child’s mother, local Congress leader Jitumoni Barua and a local journalist named Kumud Barua. Throughout the protest march around the town, the child was reportedly dragged around in that Dhokua in the harsh sun.
This is the video of Assam Congress protesters took out a rally in Lakhimpur that was led by a party member pulling a child seated on the bark of betel nut tree on the street under sweltering heat. The district police have filed a suo moto case against the protesters. pic.twitter.com/4tc31ft5kI
— Nandan Pratim Sharma Bordoloi ?? (@NANDANPRATIM) June 7, 2018
The Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (ASCPCR) reportedly notified the police about the incident after learning of the matter. Dr Sunita Changkakati, the chairperson of ASCPCR has told the Indian Express that the action is punishable under the section 75 of the Juvenile Justice ( care and protection of children) Act, 2015.
The journalist booked in the case reportedly disclosed the identity of the child in the media. As per reports, before the video clip went viral, Lakhimpur Congress Committee President Joy Prakash Das reportedly told the media that since parents are unable to send their kids to school in vehicles due to rising fuel prices, such Dhokuas will be the only ray of hope. After facing backlash over the incident he had reportedly apologised and told that it was an ’emotional decision’.
Many child rights groups and social workers have reportedly condemned the incident. Some legal experts have reportedly opined that when parents knowingly let their children be used for such activities, they can be charged under the abovementioned section of Juvenile Justice Act. While the mother of the child and the Congress leaders are claiming that it was only a symbolic act and the child was dragged for only a few metres, many local persons have reportedly claimed that she was dragged almost all over the town. Pramod Swami, the state BJP spokesperson has reportedly stated that the Congress has used a child to gain cheap publicity in the name of protest.