This is a disturbing photograph, which circulated via Facebook, it depicts a smiling man riding a motorbike across the outstretched hands of a number of children lying on the ground in a row while some adults and children look on.
The photograph is genuine and not Photoshoped. It depicts a foolish stunt carried out at a school in India in 2009 that was intended to show how strong the children had become after taking karate lessons.
The shocking incident,was in a government elementary school in Villupuram district which organised an event that exposed school children to serious harm in the name of celebrations to mark the birth centenary of the former Tamil Nadu chief minister K Kamaraj.
It was meant to be a bravery show but it resulted in gross violation of children’s rights, virtually putting them at risk of incurring serious injury.
The show began with students displaying their karate skills. Then came the main event which was a motorcyclist riding over the outstretched hands of students from class I to V lying on the ground, and later the bike going over a plank placed over a girl.
The incident has evoked strong protests from child rights activists, who want the government to sensitise the teaching fraternity, particularly those in the rural areas, on the basic rights of children.
Ironically, the event was allegedly organised in consultation with the parents-teachers association at Keezhperumpakkam in Villupuram on a day when a trust managed by the family of higher education minister K Ponmudy came forward to distribute free uniforms and stationery items.
It was the minister’s wife, the chief guest, who stopped the school authorities from continuing their daring stunts, after witnessing a couple of events, the minister’s wife directed they stop the show.
Headmaster Ramanujam, who took charge of the event, maintained that the event was organised with the unanimous consent of the parents-teachers body.