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Child Rights Body Seeks Action Over Rahul, Cong Says Effort to 'Derail' March

The Congress' Bharat Jodo Yatra began on 7 September and is set to cover 3,570 km from Kanyakumari to Kashmir.

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Edited By :Padmashree Pande

Apex child rights body National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) on Tuesday, 13 September, asked the Election Commission (EC) to initiate necessary action and inquiry into a complaint against the Congress and senior leader Rahul Gandhi for allegedly "misusing children as political tools" in the party's Bharat Jodo Yatra.

Decrying the move, the party's general secretary Jairam Ramesh indicated that these were tactics to 'derail' the efforts of the march.

The NCPCR claimed that they have received a complaint alleging that Gandhi and the Jawahar Bal Manch are targeting children with political intentions and getting them involved in political activities.

As per the complainant, it has been alleged that "many disturbing images and videos have been circulating on social media wherein it can be seen that children are being targeted and are made to participate in their campaign with a political agenda under the slogan 'Bharat Jodo, Bacche Jodo,'" the NCPCR added, news agency PTI quoted.

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The allegations are accompanied with violation of the Election Commission rules which state that only adults can be part of a political party.

"Since there is a prima-facie violation of child rights. Further, use of children as props to fulfil political agenda is child abuse which can have a severe long term impact on their mental health and is against is Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. The commission thereby requests your good offices to look into the matter and have a thorough inquiry of the events and take necessary action against the political party and its members who have been mentioned in the complaint."
NCPCR in letter to the Election Commission.

The Congress has launched the Bharat Jodo Yatra with an aim to strengthen the party's grassroots level connection. The yatra, which began on 7 September, will cover 3,570 km from Kanyakumari to Kashmir over a period of five months.

'NCPCR Has Become a RSS Affiliate': Congress

Responding to the allegations and the child rights body's response, the Congress said, "The NCPCR started by Dr Manmohan Singh's Government has now become a RSS affiliate nothing less (sic). Pathetic efforts to derail Bharat Jodo Yatra."

Meanwhile, chairman of the Tamil Nadu Congress also took to Twitter to say, "This news makes me confident that the Bharat Jodo Yatra is going in the right direction. The attempt by BJP to subvert the yatra exposes BJY's (Bharat Jodo Yatra) popularity."

(With inputs from PTI.)

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