7 children killed in protests in 5 mthsSeven children lost their lives in the past five months in violent protests across the country over some provisions of the newly adopted constitution such as inclusion and delineation of federal provinces.
Seven children lost their lives in the past five months in violent protests across the country over some provisions of the newly adopted constitution such as inclusion and delineation of federal provinces.
According to the Central Child Welfare Board (CCWB), the youngest of them was a three-month-old travelling on an ambulance. It has accused both protesters and the security forces of being insensitive about children’s safety and rights.
The CCWB has condemned the use of children in political protests and urged all stakeholders—parents, agitating parties and the state—to be extra careful about children’s rights during these tense situations.
Tek Bahadur Saud, a two-year-old who died in the Tikapur clash in Kailali between protesters and the security forces on August 24, was the first casualty. Three children were killed in September. On September 11, two children from Dhanusha succumbed to bullet wounds sustained during a clash between police and the agitators.
Four days later, a four-year-old breathed his last after getting injured by a bullet in yet another clash in Lumbini. On November 23, three-month-old Padam Bahadur Budhathoki died after the Madhesi Morcha obstructed an ambulance carrying the child from Sunsari to a hospital in Biratnagar.
Nirjala Basnet, 9, from Tulsipur lost her life in an accident after a bus vandalised by protesters on November 27 lost control and crashed. The last in the series of misfortune was the death of Sheikh Tabarej Alam, a tenth grader, on December 20. He was hit by a bullet on his way back from the Juddha Higher Secondary School in Rautahat.
“The country has signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child and pledged not to use children for political purpose. All the political parties have also vowed to refrain from using children. Yet, we have been unable to stop children from being used as tools to attain political power,” said Yubaraj Ghimire, a child rights activist.
He added that it is the responsibility of both the political parties and security forces to protect children. There has been a grave violation of child rights in the last six months. Children being paraded half naked during a protest in Karnali in July or the school closure during the Tarai agitation are other concerns raised by the activists.