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Children in rallies
Publication Date : 15-03-2013
In a new and dastardly twist, children’s rights in Bangladesh are now being violated from a whole new dimension. In today’s charged political climate, a particular political party has reportedly resorted to using children as shield in processions, knowing full well that law enforcers will be more than hesitant to take countermeasures against minors. Sad as it may sound, evidence of such irresponsible behaviour has been found in the Bangladeshi district of Gaibandha where an opposition party enforced the ransacking of both political and government establishments during a two-day hartal (strike) earlier in the month. Children aged between 10 to 18 have been caught on camera hurling projectiles at police during the incidents.
The chief of National Human Rights Commission went on record on March 13 to state the same. What has become apparent from the Gaibandha incident is that banking on the existence of some 234 madrassas, a particular Islamist party has been motivating minors in the name of defending Islam. Needless to say, children in our country are already exposed to multifarious hazards as they are engaged in different economic activities. To think that we now must face cocktail-lobbing children put to work by a morally-deficient political party to engage in riotous behaviour is beyond imagination.
The authorities must make accountable the government-approved religious learning establishments. Allegations have been raised that child-students of some madrassas in Gaibandha district are being lured with promises of cash benefits and others made to believe that Islam is in danger. And that this propaganda is being orchestrated by a section of teachers. Obviously, this points to an intelligence failure on the part of authorities, and one that needs to be tackled head on. We are past the point of playing “safe” and political parties must be made to understand that such behaviour is simply unacceptable.