12:00 AM, April 03, 2011 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 03, 2011


Beaten up for a crumb of bread

We condemn the appalling outrage

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A picture published in last Saturday's The Daily Star speaks volumes about our heavy-handed treatment to tender aged children. In particular it shows crowd's total insensitivity to a couple of poor and hungry urchin girls alleged to have stolen food. Whereas they should have been shown passion and the crowd feeling a sense of guilt that the society failed to provide two morsels of food to them, they behaved as if devoid of humanity.
Piya and Shumi shouldn't be more than eight years old, or even less, and their frailty is evident of the poverty that they are caught up in with teeming millions of children. They couldn't be habitual thieves; even if they were they hardly deserved to be treated so brutally. It seems to be a simple case of food-lifting by direly famished children.
In any case, the matter calls for some serious introspection at the societal level. Impoverished children in our country may be forced to resort to petty thefts for survival so that the problem is struck at its root.
There's huge wastage of food everyday from the households and the hotels. Leftovers are either taken away by people who don't need them or thrown into the bins for urchins to pick up. It's an affront to humanity.
We have our government, social welfare ministry, ministry for women and children affairs, children rights groups, human rights organizations and scores of voluntary bodies who work for distressed children. Sadly, whereas urchins should have been taken under the wings of shelter homes, they are falling prey to trafficking, sexual exploitation and petty crimes.
Instead of ensuring food and schooling for them we beat them up for nibbling food. Piyas and Shumis should be taken care of because we have a collective responsibility towards them.

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