Minister Shylaja cautions against using children as 'shield' in Sabarimala stir

Minister Shylaja cautions against using children as 'shield' in Sabarimala stir
Sabarimala has been witnessing protests against the government's decision to implement the SC verdict, permitting women of all age groups to pray at the temple.
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Thiruvananthapuram: Cautioning against using children as 'shield' during agitations including the Sabarimala stir, Kerala Social Justice Minister K K Shylaja Wednesday said the state government would have to take action against such practices.

The minister told the state assembly that causing difficulties to children by engaging them in protests was against the Juvenile Justice Act and amounted to violation of Protection of Child Rights Act.

"Children were being used as shields in several agitations including in the recent Sabarimala stir. The government cannot permit the use of children as shields and we have to take action against such practices," she said.

 Sabarimala
Several people were arrested for holding protests at Sabarimala.

The minister, however, noted that a large number of children were coming to Lord Ayyappa Temple in Sabarimala with their parents as part of the pilgrimage.

"There is nothing wrong in bringing children as part of faith in the hill shrine," she said.

Shylaja was replying to a question by Murali Perunnelly (CPI-M) regarding the increasing trend of using children in agitations.

A number of children had been made part of 'namajapa' (chanting mantras) protests staged by devotees and right wing groups in Sabarimala against the implementation of the Supreme court verdict permitting women of all groups into the hill top temple.

The hill shrine had been witnessing protests by right-wing groups against the government's decision to implement the Supreme Court verdict, permitting women of all age groups to pray at the temple.

The minister said steps are on to set up a Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) court of international standards in Ernakulam to ensure speedy trial in crime cases against children.

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