GUWAHATI, June 7 - The Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) has constituted a two-member inquiry commission to look into the controversial incident that took place during a Congress rally in Lakhimpur on Wednesday, in which an eight-year-old was made to sit on a dhokua (areca nut leaf sheath) and was being pulled by Congress protesters in sweltering midday heat to symbolise the condition of people due to hike in prices of fuel.
Three persons, including the mother of the child, were arrested for their involvement in the act and released on bail today. Two of the three persons, including the child�s mother, are Congress workers while the third one is a local of the area. The crime entails up to three years of imprisonment or a fine of Rs one lakh.
The incident came to light through various media reports and video clippings that went viral on social media. The method came in for sharp criticism as it constituted an insensitive approach towards a minor.
�The APCC has condemned the incident. Our State president Ripun Bora has formed a two-member fact-finding committee to inquire into the entire incident and asked for the report within 48 hours. He also directed the Lakhimpur DCC president to issue an apology over the incident, following which our Lakhimpur district president Dr Jayprakash Das has tendered an apology,� stated a senior party office-bearer.
Meanwhile, the Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (ASCPCR) has taken a suo moto cognizance of the incident, asking the police to take immediate action in the matter.
The Commission has identified the incident as a punishable offence under Section 75 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.
Dr Sunita Changkakati, chairperson of ASCPCR, told The Assam Tribune that the Commission got a video clipping of the incident after which a suo moto cognizance was taken.
�I talked to the Superintendent of Police of Lakhimpur Sudhakar Singh and he assured us of taking appropriate action in the matter,� she said.
�It is a punishable offence even if it involves the consent of parents. Using children for unconscionable gains and as an instrument of protest is not acceptable. This case might be an example for all such parties and organisations using minors for such activities,� she further stated.
Meanwhile, the BJP has also criticised the Congress for using the child for political gains.