Police plaint over children’s presence at anti-CAA Goa rally

A number of children also attended the event, photographs of whom have been submitted along with the police complaint.
Anti CAA Meeting in Goa
Anti CAA Meeting in Goa

Panaji, Jan 29 : A Goa-based child rights NGO on Wednesday complained to the police about the presence of children at an anti-CAA meet co-organised on January 24 by a Goa Church-backed body, claiming it violated child rights by exposing them to political ideology and aggressive and derogatory language.

“Having impressionable children at such gatherings places them in a vulnerable situation. Children are exposed to political ideology, aggressive and often derogatory language and this can leave a lasting memory,” Emidio Pinho of Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN) said in a complaint to Goa Director General of Police and the local women’s police station.

“This can be detrimental to their sensitive minds. Also, at such meetings, the participants can become violent and innocent children become victims. This is violation of their rights,” the complaint added.

A Goa Police spokesperson said they were examining the complaint.

On January 24, thousands of people attended a rally in South Goa’s Lohia Maidan to protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, National Register of Citizens and the National Population Register.

A number of children also attended the event, photographs of whom have been submitted along with the police complaint.

In his complaint, Pinho also attached a December 14, 2019 directive to all DGPs by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights chairperson Priyank Kanoongo, which points out to the misuse of children in anti-CAA protests and stone-pelting during protests, stating that the practice is violative of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2015.

Fr. Savio Fernandes, executive secretary of the Goa Church-backed Council for Social Justice and Peace as well as chairman of the National Confederation of Human Rights Organisation (Goa), the other co-organisers of the event, did not answer phone calls or messages to seek a response on the complaint.

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