Heartless UP: 2 Minors Flogged for “Stealing” Prasad. “Only Wanted Second Helping,” Said One

Social Commentary

Heartless UP: 2 Minors Flogged for “Stealing” Prasad. “Only Wanted Second Helping,” Said One

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

Sometimes India comes across as a nation of heartless men. Just days after the story of an innocent 14-year-old egg-seller whose cart was overturned by civic officials in Indore went viral, yet another heartbreaking video of children being tortured is doing the rounds on social media. Two minor boys in Uttar Pradesh’s Mathura can be seen weeping, their hands and feet tied with ropes; one of them is without a shirt. They were allegedly trashed by two youths. Their crime? They stole fruits that were to be offered as prasad.

A religious ceremony was organised on July 24 near a school in Mathura’s Naseeti village. The fruits were kept inside the school, when the boys, aged 10 and 12, allegedly stole and ate them, according to a report in Hindi daily Amar Ujala. When two men from the village learnt about the incident they were outraged. They took the boys back to the school, tied them up and thrashed them brutally.

Several villagers witnessed the incident but did not intervene, according to a report in India Today. After the father of one of the children complained, an FIR has been filed in the case. Two arrests have now been made. The accused are booked under Sections 342 (wrongful confinement), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC.

However, one of the boys denied stealing the prasad. He reportedly told the police that he wanted a second helping and rejoined the queue. This made the youth angry and they beat him up, he said in a statement. The incident has also been reported to Uttar Pradesh State Commission for Protection of Child Rights.

The video has stirred some outrage on social media.

The incident once again reminds us that India thinks nothing of physical violence, especially when it comes to women and children. It starts with the occasional thappad and often escalates to abuse like the kind meted to the boys in Mathura. The “spare the rod” mentality is flawed, and needs to go.