Public has to be made aware that every child is also an individual entitled to their mental and physical development, the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) in Palakkad district of Kerala said on Monday referring to the recent moral policing incident here in which school children were assaulted in a bus stop.
CWC Palakkad chairman M V Mohanan told a TV channel that the ”general public has not yet arrived at the realisation” that every child, whatever be their age, are not just children but also individuals who are entitled to their mental and physical development.
”We need to create an awareness among the people about this,” he said.
Referring to the recent moral policing incident at a bus stop in Mannarkkad near here, he said a report has been called for from the District Child Protection Officer who has also been directed to ensure that the assaulted children receive the necessary medical treatment and counselling, if required.
The District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) will provide them with any legal aid they require to pursue the case further, Mohanan said.
On whether there was any lapse on the part of the police in the matter, he said that by the time the CWC intervened, the police was already properly moving forward with its investigation.
The parents of the assaulted children had recently alleged that the police initially tried to settle the matter between the two sides.
Mohanan said that according to a report received from the police, all the accused were arrested and they suspect involvement of another person which they were investigating. He assured that the CWC would keep following up on the matter with the police.
On the security of the assaulted children who have to go to school and return via that area, Mohanan said as soon as the CWC gets a written request for care and protection of the assaulted children as well as other kids, the committee will intervene to ensure that necessary aid, including police protection is provided.
”We will definitely intervene on that, no doubt about it,” he said.
A group of school children, including girls, were abused and beaten up at a bus stop in Mannarkkad near here last Friday while they were waiting for a bus to go back home.
”We were a group of boys and girls waiting at the bus stop. Our principal-in-charge was also with us. Suddenly, one person came and abused a girl from our group. When we questioned them, other locals joined him and started beating us.
”This is not the first incident. The locals always make an issue when they see boys and girls together,” a student had told the media after the incident.
A senior police official had told PTI that a case has been registered under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) including 341 (wrongful restraint), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 324 (Voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means), and 294 B (using obscene words in or near any public place).
Two persons were arrested on Saturday, police had said.
Protesting against the incident, the Students’ Federation of India (SFI), the students’ wing of the CPI(M), had marched to the bus stop where they sat and demanded action against the culprits.
The mother of a boy, who was assaulted, told the media that the attackers after beating up the children forced them onto a bus and asked them to leave the place.
”I got a call from my child at around 5.30 in the evening saying a few people attacked them while they were waiting at the bus stop. When I asked, my son told me that he was having pain in his chest and body. Who gave them the authority to beat the children?” she had said.
Students had told the media that the locals always created an issue when boys and girls reached the bus stop together or stood together. Police said they have taken the statement of the students and were examining the CCTV visuals of the nearby shops to identify the rest of the culprits.