KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Monday observed that children may have to be protected from political indoctrination, which has irreversible long-term consequences on children. Justice P Gopinath, while considering a case under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, said he had seen a “provocative” video of a child “spewing hatred” at a political rally. He said he wondered how legal it was to force children, as young as five or six, to take part in such rallies and voice slogans of any kind with political or religious motives.
A video of a minor raising provocative slogans while perched on the shoulders of a man at a rally organised by the Popular Front of India (PFI) in Alappuzha had gone viral on social media recently.
“Are they not fostering a new generation that grows up with this religious hatred in mind? I was just wondering about the fact that when this child grows and he becomes a major, his mind will already be conditioned to this kind of rhetoric. Something must be done.
The children should be protected from such overt incidents that could adversely impact their impressionable minds,” Justice Gopinath observed. Children must be prohibited from taking part in such rallies and sloganeering, he said.
“They do not have the legal right to vote or even drive till they are 18. Under the guise of freedom of speech and religion, can they be made to be a part of political rallies or religious rallies? He does not know what he is saying,” the judge said. The HC said it wanted to know whether there was any law prohibiting such actions.