THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The capital district is turning out to be hell for children. If there were just five cases of child marriage in the district in 2016, figures from January to September this year show that it has more than doubled to 13; Kilimanoor and Varkala have recorded the highest with four child marriages each. The capital district also has the dubious distinction of having the largest number of POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act) pending cases in the state. Of the 539 cases, 487 cases or over 90 percent of the cases are pending.
Since January 2017, 151 cases of juveniles involved in crimes have been reported in the district. This is not all. Though the law says that institutionalisation should be a last resort, 5,400 children are lodged in 97 orphanages in the state. The capital district has also been found to be dangerously conservative. Figures taken from the District Medical Office show that it had come across least 17 cases where no preventive vaccinations had been taken and 315 cases that had taken only partial vaccinations.
It is in this context that the Child Rights Commission and District Child Protection Unit jointly began a three-day awareness rally across the district from November 15. The rally raised the slogan: "The responsibility of the child lies with the society as a child is the product of the society." MSW students of Loyola College will stage various awareness programmes during the rally. District child protection officer K K Subair is the captain of the rally.
On November 15, the rally began from Nedumangad, passed through Kattakada and Neyyatinkara, and concluded in Parassala. On November 16, the rally that begins from Vizhinjam will pass through Poonthura and Beemapally and conclude at Shanghumugham. On the final day, the rally will begin from Kilimanoor, pass through Attingal and Anchuthengu, and end in Varkala.