Brampton - Dr. Ruby Dhalla, Member of Parliament or Brampton-Springdale, is condemning the severity of treatment received by two young children in Punjab, India. Dr. Dhalla arrived in India on January 4, 2008 to speak at both the Non-Resident Indian (NRI) Samaleen Conference in Punjab and the Pravasi Bharatiya Conference in New Delhi, and is also slated to receive the Pride Of India Award by the Indo-American Friendship Group.
On January 7th 2008, while attending an event organized by local community members in Pohadi, Mandi Ahmedgarh, two young children stole the purse of Dr. Dhalla's staff member. The purse was subsequently recovered and retrieved by the Punjab Police.
In Dr. Dhalla's speech following the incident, she asked all attendees and community members at the event to forgive the children for their mistake as well as highlighted the importance of reaching out to children to address some of the root causes for their actions.
The day following the incident, Dr. Dhalla learned through the media the children responsible for stealing her staff's purse had been severely reprimanded and detained. Upon learning of this, Dr. Dhalla immediately informed the appropriate authorities and advised them she would not be pursuing this matter any further with criminal charges.
"I was shocked and horrified to learn of the severity of treatment experienced by these young children. I strongly condemn any acts of violence taken towards these children.
This was an extremely unfortunate incident, which clearly highlights the need to address the issue of child poverty," says Dhalla.
Upon hearing about the actions of the authorities, Dr. Dhalla immediately contacted the Chief Commissioner of the Punjab Police, Mr. Aulakh, to voice her condemnation of the incident, and to request an immediate investigation. In addition, Dr. Dhalla has also written a letter to Commissioner Aulakh requesting an inquiry into the incident and the manner in which all child offenders are treated.
"I have asked the Chief Commissioner to launch an inquiry in regards to the treatment of these children and have requested a personal meeting with the children. I would like to express to them my care and concern for their well-being and learn about their lives, families and hardships," says Dhalla.
"As the Official Opposition Critic for Social Development, I am a passionate advocate for children and am a firm believer that children must be taught with love. It is my hope that these children will be given the attention, guidance and tools they need to escape the cycle of poverty," says Dhalla.