The West Bengal Commission for Protection of Child Rights has taken suo motu cognisance of children carrying arms in processions organised during Ram Navami on Wednesday. Commission Chairperson Ananya Chatterjee told The Hindu that she had asked the District Child Protection Officer, Birbhum, to “send a report on the issue”.
While the Commission has expressed concern only over the developments at Birbhum, similar rallies were organised in Durgapur in Bardhaman district, and Titagarh in the North 24 Paraganas district, among other places.
The development drew strong condemnation from both the Trinamool Congress and the Communist Party of India (Marxist). Criticising the RSS and the BJP for backing such rallies, Trinamool Congress secretary general and Education Minister Partha Chatterjee said: “What kind of culture are they [the BJP and RSS] trying to bring in Bengal? Children marching with swords is unprecedented in the history of the State.” CPI(M) State secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra described the incident as “impermissible.”
‘Used in schools’
Reacting to the allegations, BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha said swords and knives “cannot be regarded as weapons,” adding that “they are used for physical training in many schools.”