Street kids, domestic hands seek voting rights

Street kids, domestic hands seek voting rights [ 2007-8-18 ]
By A Staff Reporter
Kathmandu, Aug. 17: Street children and domestic workers, too, should have the right to cast their votes in the constituent assembly elections, they said at an interaction programme on Child Rights and the Constituent Assembly.

They said the state should also provide them their rights and their voices should be listened to.
Bishal Kayastha, former street child who now lives in a child’s home, said because of lack of parental care he likened his maternal uncle’s home more than his parent’s home.

“I was very much naughty when I was a child and my parents used to tie me with rope to make me stop doing nasty thing so I prefer to go to my maternal house in Panauti,” Bishal who is 15, said. No child would like to come to the street if they get proper love and care from the parents, he said.

One day on his way home from maternal house Bishal got lost and became a street children. That was during the people’s movement last year. He started living with other street children and drive rickshaw. The rickshaw driver only gave him two meals a day and no salary.

Another street child, Kamal Baral of Sindupalchok said that he was forced to leave his village after the Maoist threatened to kidnap him. He is a son of an armyman.

“Being the son of an army man, the Maoists used to threaten to take me away with them when I was on my way to school,” he said. Then he fled his village, came to Kathmandu and working as a hawker.

Currently, Baral is staying with his parents in Kathmandu. He still works as a hawker, but also goes to school.

Media persons and those working for the child rights said that many street children were more aware about politics than other children.

They said that more than 50 per cent street children participated in the people’s movement in one way or the other. In many protest programmes these children were the ones who were at the front, they said. More than 50 per cent of the street children were also injured but nobody has cared for them or has acknowledged their contribution.

They also said it is the duty of the adult eligible voters to choose the right candidates who can make a difference to the street children as well as everybody else.

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