On Wednesday Assam Congress came under criticism after it allegedly forced an 8-year-old girl to take part in a Congress protest rally against fuel price hile in Assam’s Lakhimpur district. The incident triggered angry reactions from different groups including the Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights as well as students’ organisations.
The 8-year-old girl was made to sit on a betel nut leaf sheath and dragged along the roads under the blazing June sun. A host of Congress members along with her mother marched behind, chanting anti-BJP slogans.
The child’s mother, who is also a member of the women’s wing of Congress in Lakhimpur, remained unapologetic. She maintained that it was a ‘symbolic gesture’ and asserted that the incident must have lasted for ‘only a minute’.
Child’s mother said,”It is not a crime to put my child on the ‘choke’ (betel nut leaf sheath) during the protest. It was a symbolic gesture blown out of proportion by media. It was to depict that tomorrow we might have to use the ‘choke’ as means of transport for school kids because of the constant hike in fuel prices. My daughter’s act was for a very short duration, probably, a minute or so”.
However, a suo moto case has been registered by Lakhimpur police in the incident.
Sudhakar Singh, Superintendent of Police, Lakhimpur, said,”We have registered a suo moto case as no organization came forward to lodge a complaint. Necessary action will be taken against those found guilty.
The girl’s mother has been detained, and the matter has been lodged under Sections 120B/294/153/501 of the IPC and Juvenile Justice Act. The investigation is on”.