Mumbai: Ensure safety of kids, child rights body tells confused schools amid CAA protests

Updated: Dec 24, 2019, 07:53 IST | Pallavi Smart | Mumbai

Govt order comes against backdrop of CAA protests; principals say there are no specific guidelines on how to do this.

A school principal said there is no clarity on how the order should be followed. Representation picture
A school principal said there is no clarity on how the order should be followed. Representation picture

Talking cognisance of the protests and rallies over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the Maharashtra Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MCPCR) has issued an order to ensure the safety of children to schools, the director of education and the police. However, schools are confused as there are no specific guidelines and they don't know what they are supposed to do to ensure the safety of children.

The order, issued on Friday by the Commission states, "Against the backdrop of opposition toward the CAA with protests, rallies and violent episodes; the atmosphere of the country is not very peaceful. In such situation, it is important to remain cautious regarding safety and security of the school children. Considering this required steps need to be taken by all concerned organisations." The letter is addressed to the Commissioner of Education, the Director of Education, collectors and the police. The order does not have specific guidelines.

Principals clueless
A school principal said, "There is no clarity on how the order should be followed. Schools do not have any information about future protests. Even if we did, we have no right to declare a holiday." Another principal said, "This circular was issued for the sake of it, as it lacks clarity. Instead of just issuing a one-line order, the commission could have specified different ways to ensure the safety of kids."

The secretary of the Mumbai Principals' Association, Prashant Redij, said, "By issuing an order like this against a specific backdrop, what the commission has only achieved is that more people are talking about the unsafe atmosphere in the city, which was definitely not discussed at school levels as yet. Our association is now going to put forth a demand to the new government seeking areas around schools be declared no-protest zones."

Official speak
Child Rights Commission Chairman Praveen Ghuge said, "There have been news reports about how difficult it was for school children to pass through areas where people were protesting. Though these reports are from outside Maharashtra, the circular has been issued to ensure general awareness about children's safety in current times here. Schools alone are not asked to take the responsibility for it. The circular has been issued to all authorities such as the police, civic body and other agencies active in places where protests might be happening."

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