A Different View Concerning CA Polls [ 2007-10-5 ]
At a time when the nation is on path of restructuring itself, every ethnic community, indigenous, dalit, women and other backwards people are voicing their concerns to have their rights to cast vote in the Constituent Assembly polls. But nobody has bothered about the rights of children as regards the historical CA election. The school going children, street children and domestic workers too say that they should have right to cast votes in the CA polls.
There are about 12 million under-18 years of age who are regarded as children, having no right to cast their ballots in the upcoming CA polls. Due to growing awareness, many children are aware about the condition of political upheaval, human rights, social justice and democratic process of the country. Many of them have participated in the people�s movement in one or the other. Street children were the ones who actively participated in many of the political protest programmes. Many of them were injured but none of the organization, government or political parties came forward to acknowledge their contribution, let alone taking care of them.
Article 22 of the Interim Constitution-2063 has mentioned the basic rights of the children that include their rights of identity and name, along with the rights to basic health and social security and rights of protection against any physical, mental and other types of abuse. The state should provide special care and facility to orphans, mentally retarded children, children affected by conflict, displaced and street children. Children are not allowed to be recruited in police, army services and be involved in kilns.
But these acts so far has not been implemented in practice. Many children are still found working in kilns and other dangerous and risky works.
Bishal Lama, 17, of Sindupalchowk said his neighbor brought him to Kathmandu with a promise to provide him education but now he has been working in a tea-stall as the negibour failed to fulfill his promise.
When asked about what he knew about the ongoing politics, he retorted saying that politics was not a matter of his concern. But when asked what he expected from the government, he replied the government should address the problems of the children especially like him, who came all the way from village to make his future in Kathmandu.
He said the government should allow children the right to cast votes in CA election so that �we can have a leader of our choice who can support and help to make our future prosperous and bright.�
Bishal Kayastha, a former street children, who now lives in a children�s home, said the state should provide children the rights and their voice should be listened to.
Kamal Bara, a domestic worker said, � I have citizenship certificate but I cannot cast votes in CA polls because I have not reached the age of 18 so I request all the adult eligible voters to chose the right candidates who can make a difference to the life of the street children as well as everybody else.�
Similarly, students going to higher education centers too shared the same views. Nipur Pradhananga, a grade 12 student of Universal College, reveals that the political parties should be conscious about the betterment of children.
They said that children are the pillars of nation. But this ideal has never been implemented in practice. Political parties have never acted in favor of children�s rights. The frequent strikes that force closures of schools and the protest of political parties have badly hampered the education of children. In such a situation, how can children become the pillars of the future and how would the nation get an able leadership in future if the rights of the children is not protected? Nipur queries.
The regular bandh has mentally affected the children and students now wish to remain inside their homes instead of going to school, he said.
�If given opportunity to cast my vote in CA polls, I will certainly chose the right person because it is not only our right but our duty,� reveals Nipur.
Tripti Bhuju, a grade 12 student of Ambition Academy said the protest and regular bandhs have badly affected the education of children. �I think the new generation should have the opportunity for leading the country so that they can realize the sentiments and rights of the children. The activities that would hamper the education of students must be stopped,� Bhuju said.