Kerala: Take action against people using children as “shields” in agitation

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala Social Justice Minister KK Shylaja on Wednesday directed the state to take action against people using children as ‘shield’ during protests or agitations.

Such practices invoke Juvenile justice Act and amount to the violation of Protection of Childs Rights Act, the minister said in the State Assembly, Hans reports.

“Children were being used as shields in several agitations including in the recent Sabarimala stir. The government cannot permit the use of children as shields and we have to take action against such practices,” she said.

Noting that there is nothing wrong in bringing children to pilgrimage, she said: “There is nothing wrong in bringing children as part of faith in the hill shrine.”

Using children as shields in agitations has become a rising trend she said.

Only recently, quite a number of children had been made part of ‘namajapa’ (chanting mantras) protests staged by devotees and right wing groups in Sabarimala against the implementation of the Supreme Court verdict.

The minister also said steps are being taken to set up a Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) court of international standards in Ernakulam to ensure speedy trial in crime cases against children.