The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has written to Delhi Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar over videos of children purportedly getting wet in the rain during a preparation for a Delhi government event to make the biggest Tricolour ahead of the Independence Day.
NCPCR chairperson Priyank Kanoongo said in the letter that he had received two complaints — one on Wednesday and another on Thursday from Delhi MP Manoj Tiwari — and has demanded an action taken report within seven days.
To celebrate 75 years of Independence, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said that thousands of children will congregate in the capital on August 4 to make the “largest Tricolour in the world”. Around 50,000 children from different government schools were supposed to participate and gather at a ground in Burari. While they practiced at the ground on Wednesday, a message was sent to schools and teachers early Thursday morning that the event had been cancelled because of waterlogging and that children should not be sent.
In the letter, Kanoongo said Tiwari has attached videos of children facing “undue harassment”. The letter also alleged the programme was cancelled without information and kids were left to get drenched in the rain, “which may be a hazard for their health”.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said in a tweet in Hindi: “On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the country’s independence, Delhi’s children were going to form the largest Tricolour today. But due to flooding of Burari Ground due to rainwater, this programme is currently being postponed. Yesterday, our children also did a wonderful rehearsal for it.”
Tiwari said large-scale advertisements for the event were issued but no proper arrangements were made to protect the children from the rain. “CM Kejriwal, to gain popularity, is putting children’s lives at risk… it is a planned conspiracy in which the Delhi government education department also assisted them,” he alleged.
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An aide of Tiwari also said students of state-run schools were practising in a ground in Burari to form a human flag.
While the Delhi government spokesperson refused to comment, a senior official said that the complaint was “frivolous”.
“Each year, children go to the Red Fort for Independence Day celebrations. Many times, it rains while they are there. As soon as officials realised that the event could not happen at the venue, messages were sent out to schools. It is completely wrong to say that schools were not informed and that children were abandoned. The BJP has a problem with an event where children will make the biggest Tricolour,” the official said.