Madhya Pradesh child rights panel chief’s ouster demanded

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

BHOPAL - The suggestion made by Madhya Pradesh’s child rights panel chief to appoint a Brahmin priest to decide whether a child needs nutrition has sparked strong resentment among the state’s social activists who are vehemently demanding her ouster.

Madhya Pradesh State Commission for Protection of Child Rights chair Justice Sheela Khanna, in conversation with members of Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), had said: “The Nutrition Rehabilitation Centres is not a solution for the millions of malnourished children. These centres are not cost effective. But now that the centres are there, we must effectively use them.”

“My suggestion is to appoint a Brahmin priest in each of these centres and require the priest to verify the horoscope of every child brought to the centre. After studying a child’s horoscope if the priest is of the opinion that the child will grow into a good citizen of this country, it must be provided treatment at the centre. For the rest, I would say, let us just leave them to their fate…if not where do we stop?…We cannot spend government money like this…”

She said this in October 2010 but the statement got published on AHRC’s website only recently.

“A justice with such mentality should be dismissed from the post and the Madhya Pradesh government should answer how such a person is holding the post,” Madhuri Krishnaswami, who runs Jagriti Adivasi Dalit Sangathan, told IANS.

Rimchim of Madhya Pradesh Mahila Manch said: “We have written to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) to take action against Khanna and we are planning to come on road on the issue.”

“For us, it is a shocking statement…as then who would be left to complain on such serious issue,” Rimchim added.

More than half of Madhya Pradesh’s children - 60 percent - are malnourished while 12 percent are severely malnourished and in dire need of immediate care. Madhya Pradesh tops in the national chart of malnourished children.

However, Khanna has denied making any such statement and said that she could never give such absurd remarks on the issue.

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