Telangana's deputy speaker Padma Rao Goud landed himself in hot water after a video went viral of him stuffing a wad of cash in a child's mouth in Hyderabad. The child was playing drums during the Bonalu celebrations in Secunderabad.
While Goud claimed that he wanted to give the money as a gesture of appreciation, children's rights activists asked why he could not wait until the child finished playing to give him the money. The activists pointed out that the child could have been suffocated.
The video which went viral on social media over the past few days shows the boy earnestly playing the drums and the deputy speaker stuffing Rs 500 notes into his mouth. The boy kept playing with the money in his mouth. What was more shocking was that onlookers just smiled and did not do anything to stop it.
"It might be an appreciation towards the child, but the way in which it was shown was not right. He could have waited for the child to finish playing and either given it to him in his hand or kept it in his pocket. We should have more care, concern and respect when dealing with children," Revathi Devi, children's rights activist and a former member of the State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR), was quoted as saying by The News Minute.
Achyuta Rao, the president of Balala Hakkula Sangham, said that the act put the child at risk due to possibilities of asphyxiation.
Meanwhile, Goud has hit out at those criticising. "Had I burnt the currency notes or destroyed it, it would have been an offence or a punishable crime. Is rewarding a child with some money a crime? I put money three or four times, showing my appreciation. How can that be construed as wrong?" he told TOI.
"It is part of the culture in Telangana to show one's appreciation by giving money. In fact, it is common in Indian society even during marriages. I was impressed with the boy playing the drums and rewarded him," Goud added.