Children being used in political activities in Sylhet

April 30, 2013

The trend of using children in violent political programmes, like other hazardous jobs, is increasing alarmingly in the Sylhet city in violation of human and child rights charter.
Article 6.7.4 of the National Children Policy 2011 stipulates that ‘The children cannot be used in the political activity, neither they could be lured and compelled to be involved in such activity.’
Talking to New Age, a good number of city dwellers said the political leaders were using children of different slums of the city in their programmes.
Sources in political parties said the leaders use street children to do picketing in their respective areas during general strikes in the city.
These children are also being used by local political leaders in violent activities such as setting fire to spent tyres on the streets, vandalising business establishments and vehicles and deflating the rickshaw tyres during political programmes, they said.
‘These children, who are used in political activities, are offered Tk 30 to Tk 50 for conducting violent activities,’ an activist of a mainstream political party told New Age, preferring anonymity.
He also said the children often become victims of violence taking place now-a-days in political programmes.
‘It is becoming a common scenario during general strikes enforced by different political parties in the country that street children are being used in picketing,’ college teacher Rokanuzzaman commented.
Rights activist Shahin Ahmed said a party having a minimum sense of ethics cannot use children in the political activities.
During the half-day shutdown enforced by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party in Sylhet on Monday, it was seen that a group of children under a banner of ‘Jatiyatabadi Shishu Dal’ brought a procession from the city’s Pathantula area in favour of the shutdown.
‘We know that there is no such front organisation of children of any political party in the country,’ Shafiq Ahmed, a businessman of Pathantula said, adding that the children had been used by some politicians.
The children, who participated in the procession, were not able to plan the programme or prepare a colourful banner, so somebody must have done it for them, he said.
The Sylhet district BNP president, Dildar Hossain Selim, however, expressed his unawareness of such incident.
‘We never courage any children to participate in political activities and personally I am strictly against such inhuman act like using children for personal gains,’ he added.

-With New Age input

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