Congress President Rahul Gandhi has been served a notice from the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MSCPCR) for revealing the identity of two minor boys being assaulted in a video he tweeted a few days ago. The Congress president had posted a video Friday on Twitter that showed three boys being beaten up for allegedly swimming in a well that belonged to a noted farmer in Maharashtra’s Jalgaon district. The video showed the three inor boys being stripped and paraded in the village. The video was shared widely on social media.
The MSCPCR also sent a notice to Twitter Communications Pvt Ltd. Both Twitter and Gandhi have been given ten days time to respond to the notice. Amol Jadhav, an activist, had filed a complaint regarding the incident in a letter to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and others. The rights body chairperson Pravin Ghuge took immediate cognizance of a complaint. “I issued notices to Gandhi and Twitter as they have disclosed the identity of victims,” Ghuge told news agency PTI.
However, state Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said that they have not yet received the notice from MSCPCR. “This is an attempt to divert the issue by the present government. It must be noted that the video in question was already viral on social media networks and uploaded by the perpetrators of the crime themselves,” the Congress spokesperson told IANS.
In his tweet last Friday, Gandhi said: “The only crime of these Dalit children was that there were bathing in an ‘upper-caste’ well… History will not forgive us if we don’t fight the toxic politics of hatred by the RSS/BJP.” The tweet, that is still present on Gandhi’s profile, accompanied the said video.
Ramdas Athawale, Union Minister for Social Welfare has strongly condemned the entire incident. As per reports, two persons have been arrested and the matter is currently being probed at a high level.
According to Section 74 of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), there is a prohibition on disclosure of identity of children. According to Section 74 of POCSO Act- (1) No report in any newspaper, magazien, news-sheet or audio-visuals media or other forms of communication regarding any inquiry or investigation or judicial procedure, shall disclose the name, address or school or any other particular, which may lead to the identification of a child in conflict with law or a child in need of care and protection or a child victim or witness of a crime, involved in such matter, under any other law for the time being in force, nor shall the picture of any such child be published: provided that for reasons to be recorded in writing, the Board or Committee, as the case may be, holding the inquiry may permit such disclosure, if in its opinion such disclosure is in the best interest of the child. (2) The police shall not disclose any record of the child for the purpose of character certificate or otherwise in cases where the case has been closed or disposed of. (3) Any person contravening the provisions of sub-section (1) shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months or fine which may extend to two lakh rupees or both.