Child Rights Group Says No Punishment for Wearing Rakhi and Mehendi
Child Rights Watchdog Urges Schools: Don’t Penalize Students for Festival Symbols
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has called upon schools to refrain from punishing students for wearing rakhi, tilak, or mehendi during Raksha Bandhan celebrations within school premises.
Addressing the Principal Secretaries of the School Education Department across all states and Union Territories, the NCPCR highlighted instances reported in the media where students faced harassment and discriminatory treatment from school authorities due to their participation in festive practices.
Numerous reports have shown that students are often prohibited from wearing rakhi, tilak, or mehendi in schools during Raksha Bandhan, leading to both physical and psychological distress. The NCPCR pointed out that such actions are in violation of the Right to Education Act of 2009, which strictly prohibits corporal punishment in schools.
The apex child rights body urged relevant authorities to take immediate action and issue directives that safeguard students from any practices that may expose them to physical punishment or discrimination.
The NCPCR, responsible for overseeing the protection of children’s rights in India, emphasized the cultural and religious significance of rakhi, tilak, and mehendi. Rakhi, a decorative thread symbolizing the bond between siblings, is tied by sisters on their brothers’ wrists during Raksha Bandhan. Tilak is a religious mark applied to the forehead, while mehendi involves intricate henna designs applied to the hands and feet.
In the past, multiple incidents have come to light where schools imposed severe punishments on students for wearing rakhi, tilak, or other religious symbols during Raksha Bandhan and other festivals.
Defending their actions, some school authorities have referred to their code of conduct and the aspiration to maintain an inclusive environment, often cited as reasons for restricting the display of religious symbols on school premises.