Delhi Police invites child rights body's ire over 'insensitive' advert

As rights groups upped the ante over the sheer insensitivity displayed by Delhi Police in issuing a fund raising advertisement, "depicting a vulnerable child as a future criminal", the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) shot a notice to the Police Commissioner on Monday, demanding that the department take immediate steps to control the damage done with "the highly negative depiction of the image of children of vulnerable groups".

The advertisement shows the child asking for help to learn how to chop an onion before he learns to chop a head. It also says "the only hope" for underprivileged young adults and children, who are "vulnerable to the lure of crime", is intervention and integration as provided by the Delhi Police Yuva Foundation.

In its notice, DCPCR stated, "Attention of this commission has been drawn towards a 'fund raising advertisement' issued by Delhi Police in newspapers... This advertisement consists of the photograph of a vulnerable child..."

"The commission finds the advertisement in bad taste and diminishing the 'dignity and worth' of children, who are our future citizens. This commission also finds the advertisement violating the principle of 'dignity and worth' as mentioned in the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Rules 2007. This advertisement depicts a vulnerable child as a future criminal, who can chop a head, if he is not being provided vocational training. Besides, teaching a child how to chop an onion does not really do justice to a child," the notice sent by the child rights commission's chairperson Arun Mathur read.

Advocate Ananth Asthana, an expert on juvenile justice, said the advertisement "has stirred a debate among child rights activists".

"It only shows the trivial thinking of Delhi Police on child rights. The authorities have a very wrong perception about juveniles, and this particular ad associates them with murder. For the police, the solution seems as simple as making children learn how to chop onions and cook chowmein," Asthana said.

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