Where is the responsibility? | Daily News

Where is the responsibility?

Last week one Sinhala language National daily newspaper published a small news story in one of its inside pages. This may look something unimportant or irrelevant for many. But this is the burning issue faced by Sri Lankan children at the moment. This is why we talk about this issue today.

According to the news item, a 16-year-old schoolboy residing in the Malewana area in the Wellawaya Police Division had committed suicide by hanging himself. He had lived alone at his home after his father went abroad three months ago. His mother had remarried and is now living in another area. The boy’s aunt is residing next door and she was providing him meals. Last week he had taken dinner from her home and gone home. In the morning she had found his body.

This may be an insignificant news item for many but this is the story of today’s young generation of Sri Lanka. All below the age of 18 are being considered as children and children need parents’ or guardians’ love and care. Without that no child can live in this world because children are children and they need help. They need love, care, protection and everything until they become adults and live their own lives.

But it seems Sri Lankan parents who were born after 1980 or so are not aware of this or they just ignore this fact because of their selfishness. Most of them realize that they cannot live with their spouse only after having two or three children. In the past even when parents cannot live together due to various issues, they, especially mothers, did not abandon their children because they very much cared about their parenting responsibility. But social change has made things disastrous. The children are at the receiving end.

A few decades ago, the Sri Lankan Government introduced new laws in order to protect parents’ rights and now it is the time to introduce new laws to protect children’s rights. Now if the children do not look after their aged parents, they can file cases against them and obtain maintenance. This same law should be applied for children because now it is children who are suffering due to the negligence of parents. Even some children who live with both parents suffer because those parents do not take care of children and at least they do not know what they do or their whereabouts. It is these children who become criminals and killers at the age of 12, 13, 14 etc. They kill their own parents, teachers and anyone. Every night we can see this deadly trend over the television news telecast.

Children are not born on their own. It is a man and a woman who decide to have a child. Most of the time it is the man who decides. This is the truth that even it is hidden under the carpet due to cultural restrictions. Various simple birth control methods have been freely available in Sri Lanka for several decades. However, the education given to society about them was extremely limited. This is another issue connected to this main issue.

The Government cannot look after a large number of parentless children due to various restrictions such as financial matters, lack of staff, and lack of children’s homes etc. Looking after parentless children is another good legal and illegal income generating avenue for private children’s homes which function under the supervision of the Government.

Therefore, Sri Lankan men and women should not just have children as an unexpected result of ‘having fun’ or any other reason. Young married couples should not have children for funny and stupid reasons such as obeying nature, doing what all the others do, obeying parents and in-laws, making friends, colleagues and neighbours happy, to fulfill dreams that could not achieved in their childhood, to look after them when they become aged and just to show the world that the husband is not impotent and the wife is not barren/childless!

On the other hand the politicians, especially the Opposition politicians should not try to connect this burning social issue to poverty. It is because most of the cases have nothing to do with poverty at all and most of the issues are connected to the irresponsible and selfish behaviour of men and women who think that giving birth to a child is nothing and they can get rid of the child at any age. This is why they go for abortions, abandoning infants, get rid of children by deserting them on roads etc., or simply killing them.

It is high time that the relevant authorities bring new legislation in order to give tough punishments for both parents when their child/children are being neglected. Nothing works in this land except tough laws. We, as citizens, have already witnessed this bitter truth a million times by now. Preaching will never do as it did not work so far. Religion, culture etc. are nothing for people. People’s consciousness seems to be non-existent any longer.



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