Much to the annoyance of child rights activists, students leaders and conscious citizens of Mangaldai, a section of school children have allegedly been made ‘hostage’ for couple of hours in the name of offering grand welcome to Assam Education Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma at Mangaldai on Friday .
The Education Minister visited Mangaldai on a day long programme for a series of public functions which reportedly included inauguration of a boundary wall at Collegiate High School located at Bhebarghat, Ward No-10 of Mangaldai.
As a part of this programme, the authorities of Collegiate High School and other two nearby government provincialized schools namely, Bhebarghat Upper Primary and Bhebarghat LP Schools made elaborate preparations to greet the Education Minister right from point of approach road connecting to the National Highway 15.
Accordingly, around one hundred school children had been brought to the event defying the official holiday on account of ‘Good Friday’.
These children were made to stand on both sides of the road with flowers and bouquets in their hands so that immediately after the arrival of the Minister, he may be accorded grand welcome.
Minister Dr Sarma was scheduled to arrive at Mangaldai College at around 10 am. However, it was only after 12:30 pm that the minister finally arrived.
All these time the students were made to stand on both sides of the road without food or water.
Meanwhile talking to Northeast Now, Khanindra Rajbongshi, president of Darrang district of All Assam Students Union (AASU), strongly condemned the incident terming it as gross violation of child rights and torture on the school children. He urged upon the state child rights’ protection bodies to conduct an inquiry and punish the erring officials of the state Education Department as per the provision of the law.
On the other hand on being asked, Nagen Boro, District Elementary Education Officer (i/c) expressed his ignorance over the matter and simply saved his skin saying, “I have not directed any one to engage students for such purpose.”