Kids forced to wish KTR on b'day: Cong. to SHRC

Update: 2023-07-25 21:25 GMT
Pictures and videos of students of a state-run Gurukul in Karimnagar forming a human chain to wish IT minister K.T. Rama Rao on his 47th birthday. (Image Source: Twitter)

HYDERABAD, KARIMNAGAR: A day after pictures and videos of students of a state-run Gurukul in Karimnagar forming a human chain to wish IT minister K.T. Rama Rao on his 47th birthday went viral, Congress corporator Daripally Raja Shekhar Reddy registered a complaint with the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) on Tuesday.

In a letter to the commission, Reddy called it “deeply distressing and concerning” that students of Jyothibha Phule Gurukul School in Karimnagar's Ganghadhara mandal were “forced” to form a human chain. He said it raised “serious questions about the treatment of these young children and the potential perpetuation of a slave mentality.”

Parents of the students were also furious about their children being used for political reasons.  

Reddy said that children’s well-being must be ensured and this entailed upholding their dignity and rights. “This form of wishing someone, irrespective of the context, is wholly inappropriate and undermines the principles of human rights that we cherish. Acts that demean and humiliate children go against the very essence of education and can have long-lasting detrimental effects on their mental and emotional development,” he said.  

While also sending a copy of the complaint to the Karimnagar collector, DEO, and the MEO of Gagandhara mandal, he urged the HRC to conduct a thorough investigation into this incident on priority.

“The era we live in should be characterised by progress, inclusivity, and respect for human rights, rather than resembling a ‘Rajarikam’ or a monarchy where people are treated as subjects with no agency or dignity. Let us strive to create a society where every child is treated with compassion, fairness, and respect,” he wrote.

Parents slammed local BRS leaders for impeding their children’s studies and using them to further their political cause.

“Why are they bringing politics to school and why should children be used and face problems for the birthday celebrations of KTR,” a parent questioned.

School principal S. Sirisha told Deccan Chronicle that the PA of BRS MLA S. Ravi Shankar had called her to inform her that the MLA would visit the school to celebrate Rama Rao’s birthday with the children.

“I was away attending counselling in Karimnagar and thought the celebrations would entail the distribution of some sweets or books. To my surprise, instead of the MLA, local BRS leaders visited the school, and made the students sit in the ground,” she said.

City-based child rights activist Anusha Bharadwaj said that students, teachers and schools must never be used for political functions. “There should be a strong chain of command on what gets a principal and school to indulge in any activity outside what a school does. There must be some vigilance, strictly monitored,” she said, adding that it was important that students don’t miss classes, given the many disruptions due to Covid-19 and more recently, rainfall.

Mutyala Ravinder, state additional general secretary of the Telangana Progressive Teachers Federation, said: “Today, politics have become fashion, with schools and teachers falling into the trap of local leaders, for a few pictures in the hope of becoming newsmakers.”

He condemned the act and said that celebrations should not have taken place at the cost of students’ study and play hours.


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