MADHYA PRADESH ELECTIONS 2018 Congress accuses Chouhan of violation of child rights
Congress filed a complaint with Madhya Pradesh Commission for Protection of Child Rights accusing chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan of violating the Supreme Court guidelines by forcing children to attend his meetings
The Congress on Wednesday accused Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan of “gross violation of child rights,” claiming that schoolchildren were being forced to line up roads for hours to welcome him along the route of his ‘Jan Ashirvad Yatra’ and attend his meetings as well.
It filed a complaint with the Madhya Pradesh Commission for Protection of Child Rights, accusing Chouhan of violating the Supreme Court guidelines by forcing children to attend his meetings.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) maintained the children came on their own to thank Chouhan for his welfare programmes as he is travelling across the state as part of the yatra (journey) to galvanize support ahead of the elections due this year.
“There is a gross violation of child rights as they are being forced to stand on roads for hours to welcome Chouhan and attend his meetings. As per the Supreme Court guidelines, they cannot be forced to attend a political party’s programme,” state Congress media in charge Shobha Oza said in the complaint. Oza said the show of children’s affection for Chouhan was being orchestrated.
The complaint came after students in schools uniforms were seen lining up on roads and attending the chief minister’s public meetings during the yatra. Some of them waved placards thanking Chouhan for giving them laptops and for waiving tuition fees.
The commission’s chairman, Raghavendra Sharma, said it had received Oza’s complaint. “It is a matter of inquiry to see if her allegations are true.”
A BJP functionary, who asked not to be identified, said instructions had been issued to the education department and other departments to ensure beneficiaries of the government schemes turn out in good numbers along the yatra’s route. The yatra has covered over 50 assembly constituencies since it started on July 14. Chouhan is expected to visit all the state’s 230 assembly constituencies by September 25.
Minister of state for school education Deepak Joshi claimed the students turned up to welcome Chouhan because “the chief minister has done a lot for them, whether it is fee waiver or giving students laptops, uniforms, textbooks and cycles”.
Omprakash Saklecha, the BJP lawmaker from Jawad, claimed the students had come out on the streets on their own to thank Chouhan.
Leader Opposition in state assembly Ajay Singh alleged students were spending hours, sometimes till late at night, waiting for Chouhan.
Joshi said if students were staying up to late night they couldn’t be forced to do that. They were there because of their intense desire to see their ‘mama’ (maternal uncle).
Educationist prof (retd) Zameeruddin said, “Students should not be forced to become a part of any programme whether it’s political, religious or social. Such activities affect their studies and also their personality adversely.”
First Published: Aug 09, 2018 16:52:33