GUWAHATI: The Congress in Assam has drawn censure for its alleged cruel act of dragging a minor girl, seated on the bark of a betel nut tree, in scorching heat during a rally against price hike.
As the incident triggered an outrage, particularly on the social media, the Congress tendered an apology but the police, taking suo motu cognizance of the act, filed a case while the Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (ASCPCR) instructed the administration to take action against the perpetrators of the crime.
The incident occurred in northern Assam’s Lakhimpur town on Wednesday. During the protest rally, the child, who was at the forefront of the participants, was seen being dragged a distance by a Congress leader.
“…It came to the notice of the Commission regarding an act of cruelty against a child in Lakhimpur district wherein a child aged about 7-9 years was used as a tool for unconscionable gain and an instrument of protest. During the mid-day in the scorching heat, the child was made to sit on the leaf layer of betel nut tree and dragged throughout…
“The Commission has taken suo-moto cognizance of the same Under Section 13 of the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005 and instructed the police administration to take immediate necessary action against the perpetrators as the Commission identifies the action as a punishable offence Under Section 75 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015. The chairperson of the Commission, Dr. Sunita Changkakati, spoke to the Superintendent of Police (SP) and she was assured of appropriate action by the SP,” a statement by the ASCPCR stated.
The Congress’ Lakhimpur unit chief Joyprakash Das on Thursday apologised for the incident but the Pradesh Congress Committee ordered an internal probe into the incident. The Committee assured that disciplinary action would be taken against the guilty. APCC chief Ripun Bora described the incident as unfortunate.
The BJP condemned the act of the Congress and termed it as “shameful”. It alleged that the Congress had used the innocent child in order to gain cheap publicity.