In Bhopal Central Jail the faces of minors were stamped when they came to meet their relatives on Rakshabandhan day. Does such a stark violation of both human and child rights strike a clarion call for our times?
Dinesh Ranjan is social activist engage with grassroot movements in Madhya Pradesh.
In Bhopal a peculiar and disturbing case of human rights took place on Rakshabandhan Day. The incident took place in Bhopal Jail when women from many families came to meet their relatives on the auspicious day. The usual custom in the jail as in many other jails across the country is to imprint a stamp on the visitor’s hands to distinguish them from the inmates.
However what has come to limelight is the fact that many visitors among them young children have been stamped on their faces instead of their hands. This is certainly a serious violation against their rights as dignified human beings. When questioned about the tragic state of affairs, the jail authorities said that due to a large influx of people on the day, the incident was only a slight mistake and there was nothing intentional about it.
The photograph of two minors with their faces stamped is doing the rounds in many newspapers across the country. It is ironic that a clear breach of both human rights and child rights is so easily possible in a county like ours which prides itself in being one of the largest and most successful democracies in the world.
Have the jail authorities ever wondered the kind of lasting impact that this horrible act would place on the minds of these children for the rest of their lives?
The stark sense of ridicule, insult and humiliation that these minors must have felt at being stamped on their faces is difficult to cognize. Just because these children are vulnerable and have no strong voices to fend for them, is it justified that they be so brutally and nakedly denied their basic sense of dignity?
For many people this may not be an issue that they would seriously like to contemplate upon but for educators, guardians and all those who take it upon themselves to nourish and help nurture a generation of cultivated, sensitized and awakened minds- this is an incident that will surely disturb them to the core.
What kind of future are we giving to these innocent children, especially if they are from weaker/marginalized sections of the society? What has happened in Bhopal Jail is only an extreme manifestation of what is happening to children in the country everyday- from rampant child labour to child trafficking and malnutrition, exploitation in the unorganized sectors and foetal killings.
These innocent minors will grow up to be the citizens of tomorrow and a wounded consciousness that we are giving them today is sure to hamper their development into complete, holistic human beings. It is up to us now to take cognizance of the matter and eradicate all forms of violence against children.
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