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After Dahi Handi, Maharashtra child rights panel wants to ban kids from using firecrackers on Diwali

In 2014, on MSCPCR’s recommendation, HC had banned minors from participating in human pyramids

mumbai Updated: Aug 05, 2017 01:12 IST
Puja Pednekar
Puja Pednekar
Hindustan Times
Dahi Handi,Mumbai,Ganeshotsav
The move will reduce air and noise pollution said activists(HT FILE)

After the Bombay high court banned minors from participating in human pyramids formed during Dahi Handi celebrations, the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MSCPCR) wants them to not be allowed to burst firecrackers during Diwali.

The commission wrote to the Director General of Police, Maharashtra, on Thursday asking for a state-wide report on the number of children who sustained injuries owing to firecrackers in the last five years.Based on the report, the commission will examine the risk posed by firecrackers to children and then demand that children be banned from using them. “Firecrackers are hazardous to children and they should not be allowed to burn crackers unsupervised or without following some safety norms,” said AN Tripathi, secretary, of the MSCPCR.

Last year, in November, an eight-year-old in Kalamboli succumbed to injuries after a firecracker landed on her dress. Ankita Chaudhary was bursting crackers with her friends when her dress caught fire and she sustained third degree burns.

According to the National Burns Centre, 26 people sustained burn injuries in Diwali last year. The flower pot variety of crackers continued to be the major reason for burn cases among children. Tripathi said every year, large number of children are hurt while bursting crackers as there is lack of parental supervision. “Parents are busy with their own celebrations and often children burn crackers with their friends,” said Tripathi. “We need to come up with safety norms that must be followed while bursting crackers or ban it entirely.”

In 2014, the commission called for a blanket ban on children under-12 years from participating in human pyramids. Those between 12 and 16 years were banned from breaking handis, set up too high, while the government was asked to come up with safety guidelines for the age group of 16 to 18 years to protect them. Following the commission’s recommendations, the HC upheld the ban and later the Maharashtra state government implemented it.

The move will reduce air and noise pollution said activists. “Firecrackers are unsafe for everyone, not only for children,” said Sumaira Abdulali, convenor, NGO Awaaz Foundation. “They have toxic chemicals that can seriously harm your health.”

Abdulali added that the state needs to severely restrict the availability of firecrackers. “In other countries, you need a special license to burst crackers, especially those that produce a lot of noise. The government needs to look at implementing a similar system here,” she said.

First Published: Aug 05, 2017 01:12 IST