Tamil Nadu

Collector pens letter for students, asks them to stay safe and call 1098 for help

The letter from Vellore Collector A. Shanmuga Sundaram to school students in the district

The letter from Vellore Collector A. Shanmuga Sundaram to school students in the district   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

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Vellore Collector A. Shanmuga Sundaram wished students on Children’s Day and provided his contact number and the numbers of various officials so that children in need could call

On Children's Day, Vellore Collector A. Shanmuga Sundaram became a ‘brother’ to hundreds of school students in the district. He penned a letter to not only wish them on the occasion but to also put in a word of advice on safety.

Addressing the students as “my beloved brother/sister”, he wrote on issues including child sexual abuse, child marriage and child labour. If they needed help, he asked the children to call the round-the-clock helpline, Childline at 1098 to ensure their safety.

Noting that their safety was crucial for the country’s development, he told the students not to allow anybody to touch them inappropriately. Shout, run, and tell was his message to them -- shout, run from the place and tell someone whom you trust immediately, he said.

Telling them that it was important to know about the prevention of child marriages and related rules, the Collector said the marriageable age was 18 for girls and 21 for boys. The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act makes arranging marriages for children and forcing them, punishable.

Childline can be contacted for helping children in distress such as in the cases of child labour, destitute children, children involved in begging, those who run away from home, missing children, school drop-outs, kidnapped children or those in need of medical assistance.

He concluded the letter by providing the contact numbers of officials including his mobile number and the child protection officer’s number so that they could call for help.

K.S. Devendiran, Childline district coordinator, said the letters were sent to all schools in the district through the Chief Educational Officer. “We took printouts and handed the letters to the students of a few schools. In all schools, the headmasters read out the contents of the letter during the assembly," he said. This was organised by Childline along with Hand in Hand, a NGO, he added.

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Printable version | Dec 8, 2019 4:47:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/collector-pens-letter-for-students-asks-them-to-stay-safe-and-call-1098-for-help/article29980924.ece

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