Of late, the claim that ‘India is turning into Pakistan’ can be heard often from the political opposition. The statement, like many other assumptions, is based on fearmongering. But the set of people who proclaim themselves as liberals are not discussing some of the ways in which some disturbing similarities are cropping up between parts of India and observed trends in Pakistan. Both these issues endanger the rights of children and clearly, anyone calling themselves liberal would fight these tendencies.
A Disturbing Trend in Kerala
Mathrubhumi has reported that in Kerala, polio vaccines were not administered to 46 percent children in the pulse polio immunisation programme held on January 19.
Though the report did not discuss the exact reasons for people’s resistance to a very important health initiative, it does mention that parents in Malappuram, Kasaragod and Palakkad ignored the vaccination drive.
Nevertheless, a report in the Hindustan Times back in 2016 had identified that religious clerics were spreading fear among the masses that fertility of children will get affected by administering this vaccination.
People have even attacked medics who were administering vaccines to children.
It is painful to make a comparison, but the fact remains that this particular fear driven by clerics is also seen in Pakistan, depriving poor children of an important vaccination. There, not only did thousands of people say no to polio vaccination; there were also unfortunate incidents of vaccination workers getting killed.
Is Kerala, a progressive state, endangering the lives of future generations by allowing clerics to dictate terms? Is this matter of child rights not important?
Poisoning Young Minds
It is a known fact that Pakistani textbooks openly teach religious and sectarian hatred. A couple of months ago, a video emerged from Pakistan on social media in which Pakistani children were seen saying things like “We will take revenge for the martyrdom of every Muslim as Hind will become Pakistan.”
In a disturbing parallel, a viral video of children at the Shaheen Bagh protest is further depressing. In a video, one can see the hatred instilled into the young minds to abuse the Prime Minister and Home Minister of this nation and even speak of killing them.
Republic reports that there was a viral video in which a child was saying, “This Amit Shah and Modi are thinking that they’ll kill all the Muslims in the country and live alone here. But we won’t let them live alone we will kill both of them.”
According to media reports, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has now written to the District Magistrate (DM) of South-East Delhi to arrange for counselling sessions for children participating in the ongoing protests at Shaheen Bagh against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
Brainwashing children and feeding communal hatred has clearly not worked well in Pakistan and cannot work for any civilized society. This is another disturbing trend that has been picking up in India as well.
Such matters of the rights of children are deeply concerning and the last thing we should be doing is mirroring an already collpasing society next door.