CPN-UML politburo member Niru Devi Pal was the chair of the Committee of Women and Social Affairs in the previous House of Representatives.
As the committee’s chair, she took part in several discussions and debates and also gave instructions on issues related to children’s rights and welfare.
But on Sunday, she posted a video on Facebook that showed students of Bidya Mandir Namuna Secondary School in Panchadewal Binayak Municipality of Achham district chanting slogans in support of UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli during school hours. She later deleted the video.
Pal said that she had posted the video but deleted it later as she felt it was wrong.
Talking to Setopati, Pal said that Oli was staying near the school and the school’s principal brought the students to see Oli after they insisted on seeing him.
Pal said she was also aware that children cannot be involved in events of political parties.
According to Section 21 (p) in Chapter 3 of the Political Parties Act, 2017, children should not be used in political activities.
Chairman of UML’s disciplinary committee Keshav Badal, however, said that the children’s attending the event could not be deemed inappropriate as it was not part of an election campaigning program.
The school’s principal, Pahalman Singh Nepali, said that the students did not take part in the UML rally but watched it from the roadside.
According to Nepali, their school is near the Mid-hill Highway and they had organized an event only to welcome Oli and other UML leaders as they were scheduled to pass by the school. When the school’s teachers and staff all came out on the road, the students also followed behind spontaneously and chanted slogans in Oli’s support.
He said that he was inquiring about the chanting of slogans by the students, adding that most of those chanting slogans were from grade six.
Child rights activist Milan Dharel, who is also the former executive director of National Child Rights Council, said that the law does not allow involving children in political parties’ events.
“It is wrong to involve children in political events. The UML leadership should caution the cadres who involved children in such an event,” he said.
UML launched a campaign on November 30 to identify feasibility for development of areas around the Mid-Hill Highway. The journey spanning nearly 2,000 kilometers started from Jhulaghat of Baitadi and will end at Chiwa Bhanjyang of Panchthar on December 17.
UML Deputy General Secretary Prithvi Subba Gurung said that the campaign is scheduled to reach Surkhet via Dailekh on Monday.