Shaken by the gruesome incident of brutal torture of a five-year-old boy at Kumily, the State Government is gearing up to go in for a comprehensive piece of legislation to effectively prevent ill-treatment of children.
“It is a shame to Kerala”, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy observed, while referring to the episode. “We view this as a pointer to a grim reality and, hence, decided to take strong measures to check the trend. As an immediate step, all schools have been directed to report any such incidents of torture at any place, for which, counselling measures should be initiated. Also, hospitals have been asked to examine children in detail if they suspected ill-treatment and torture,’’ said Chandy. Chandy told a post-Cabinet briefing here on Wednesday that a committee of top officials headed by the Additional Chief Secretary was constituted on Wednesday and asked to submit a report in a month’s time on how to deal with those who ill-treat children. The Cabinet has decided to act stern on account of two recent incidents in which children were subjected to brutality, the Chief Minister said.
“In a case reported in Kozhikode, the girl succumbed to injuries inflicted by her father and stepmother. And, in the gruesome case now, we are all praying that the five-year-old boy, now battling for life at a hospital in Idukki, regains his health very soon,’’ said Chandy. The gruesome incident at Kumily happened on Monday. The boy was brought to a hospital in Kattapana and, on examination, it was found that he was subjected to cruel physical torture by his own father and his second wife. ‘’Schools will be asked to conduct counseling and the funds will be allotted from a special fund currently available to ensure the welfare of children,’’ Chandy said. The government will give better treatment to the boy and will bear all the treatment expenses.
“Let us pray that his condition gets better,’’ said Chandy. He added that the government would take up the protection of the child once he gets better. As per the Cabinet decision, Social Justice Minister M K Muneer will visit the hospital where the boy is undergoing treatment.
“He will take stock of the situation. The government is viewing such incidents very seriously. Several precautionary measures are taken to see to it that no such incident is repeated. On the basis of this report of the high-power committee, future plans will be formulated’’, the Chief Minister said. Jagratha Samithis will be constituted in schools. Headmasters, principals of schools and organisations should address issues pertaining to child abuse and torture and report the same, Chandy said.