The photograph of a 3-year-old child tied to an artificial peepal leaf for hours during a procession in connection with Sree Krishna Jayanthi celebrations has created much outrage in Kerala. The Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights has intervened and taken a suo moto case in this regard.
The Commission, on Thursday, registered a suo motu case based on several media reports, that published photographs of the child tied to an artificial peepal leaf mounted on top of a vehicle in Kannur. The Commission has asked the Home Secretary, State Police Chief, District Collector, District Police Chief and Child Protection Officer to submit reports on the incident, within a span of a week.
Moreover, the Police Chief and the Home Secretary have also been directed to submit reports apprising the Commission of the action taken based on the Commission's previous directives.
KSCRC chairperson Shoba Koshy told the media that the Commission and the Home Department had already issued separate guidelines and orders relating to the participation of children in processions and public functions.
The said procession in Kannur was reportedly carried out by Balagokulam, an organisation affiliated to the Sangh Parivar.
Photo from another procession in Kannur. Photo by Mohan SK
Pointing out that prima facie there was a crime involved, District Child Welfare Committee Chairman TA Mathew said that a case could be registered even in the absence of a complaint from the child's parents.
The incident came to light, when Sreekanth Usha Prabhakaran, a resident of Payyannur, posted the image of the child on his Facebook profile.
‚ÄúI saw this little kid dressed up as Krishna and he was tied to an artificial peepal leaf for hours atop a vehicle during the procession. When I first saw the child, I thought it was a statue. Then I saw the child moving his hands and legs. The waist of the child seemed tied up to the leaf. The visual of the child lying down like this, with his head resting on a side to avoid sunlight reminded me of crucified Jesus,‚ÄĚ Sreekanth's post read.
Similar photographs of children dressed as little Krishna and tied to artificial peepal leaves, surfaced from Kozhikode as well.
Devotees take part in a ‚ÄėShobhayathra‚Äô organised as part of Janmashtami celebrations in Kozhikode on Tuesday. PTI photo