By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, May 21: Ringing out a strong and symbolic message to their adult coun-terparts who are wielding guns, hundreds of children gave up their fancy toy guns and make a bonfire of them.
Before the symbolic bonfire made in Oinam Kei-nou High School ground today, hundreds of child-ren, all below 13 years, took out a rally holding placards which read as, “Let’s give up the habit of playing with toy-guns”, “Let’s play foot-ball, wrestling, hockey etc”.
The children’s rally and burning of toy guns was or-ganised by the people of Oi- nam Keinou. One of the adults who helped in orga-nising the unique and sym- bolic event observed that playing with toy-guns has become the most popular game and pastime for the children of the State in the last few years.
If one observes closely any group of children pla-ying with toy-guns, chil- dren having larger toy-guns can be seen exercising grea-ter psychological and phy- sical power over the friends having smaller toy-guns, he said.
Playing regularly with such toy-guns would cer-tainly make a lasting impres- sion on the young minds of the children and they may conceptualise on the own about the relation between gun and power and this may ultimately lead the children to the wrong path as they grow up.
A seven year old boy who unwittingly surren-dered his toy-gun to the bonfire said, “We used to stage ambush in our games. We threw bombs and we played like confiscating money. Children without toy-guns are not allowed to take part in our various war games”.
On being asked what he felt on burning his gun, he said, “I feel very sorry and anguished”.
“But it was rally painful when we were hit by a bullet while playing war games with out toy-guns”, he added.
When the same ques-tion was asked to an eight year old girl, she expressed great happiness. “Our Na-nao will not shoot at me from tomorrow” she rejoiced.
A mother of two who took part in organising the event said that this habit of children playing with toy-guns was a burden to many great families. Starting from Rs 10, these toy-guns cost up to Rs 300. Most of the children would not accept low-priced guns, they would often nagged for days to buy larger and more costly guns, conveyed the mother. Unable to resist the persistent nagging, the money set aside for admission was used for buying toy-gun, she said.
There were cases of heavy altercations between mothers when their children suffered injuries while playing with their toy guns amongst themselves.
Two children who suffered injuries while playing with toy guns also attended the bonfire.
After the bonfire, the children were distributed footballs and other natural playthings and stationery items.
The parents also appealed to all the shopkeepers not to sell toy guns in Oinam Keinou area. They further appealed to other parents not to succumb to the pressure of their children to buy toy guns.
The Sangai Express