Police interrogation of children as young as nine in a school in Karnataka’s Bidar district in connection with a play enacted to denounce the Citizenship (Amendment) Act constitutes a flagrant abuse of child rights. It is an act of inhumanity a civilised society cannot countenance in any circumstance. Interrogating children intimidates them and may cause them irreversible psychological damage. The police tried to justify that on the ground that they need to collect evidence against parents and teachers.
The BJP government is so intolerant to criticism that it does not even spare children. The Bidar incident shows that the government would go to any length to stifle dissent. It is particularly worrying that the Karnataka High Court and the Supreme Court have turned a blind eye to the gross violation of child rights. If the courts do not intervene and protect children from police high-handedness, who else will? It is some consolation that the State Child Rights Commission has sought an explanation from the police.
The courts have ruled time and again that a speech or action intended to influence the government to change a policy or law does not amount to sedition. A country that cherishes democracy cannot let the ruling dispensation scare children and slap sedition charges on adults on flimsy grounds.
G David Milton, Tamil Nadu
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