‘Every hour, 8 kids in India are picked up, stolen, and sold for slavery’
‘Even if one kid in the country is unsafe, then the entire country is unsafe’
Srinagar: Nobel Peace Laureate, Kailash Satyarthi held an interactive session with media-persons regarding Children’s Rights at Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC) on Monday.
Satyarthi addressed reporters here at SKICC about the cases of Child Sex Abuse (CSA) happening in the country outside and inside their homes.
“Every other day in the news, we hear news of one child sex abuse case or the other. There is news of rape of children by people who are in their family. It is a shame on our conscience that we are not doing anything about it,” he said, while highlighting the need for a safe upbringing of children and the ‘need for communication’.
“There is news of rape of children, and such news hurts us very much,” he added, “The children are not even safe at home, where their relatives abuse them. We have so many such cases in India where the immediate relative is involved in abusing the child.”
Kailash in on a ‘Bharat Yatra’ with the intention of spreading awareness about the cases of child labour and child sexual abuse in the country.
“This Bharat Yatra we are on, we are going to be covering more than 12000 Kilometres and spreading awareness about the same. When we had started, our target distance was less than 11 kilometres but I think by the time this Yatra campaign is over, we will have covered more than 12,000 kilometres. More than 10 lac people have already taken part in it, disregarding religious and social differences and united against this violence our kids are facing.”
The Nobel Laureate expressed gratitude to the leaders all over India for having shown and expressed support for the same. “Leaders across India, including Mehbooba Mufti, the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir has shown interest in the issue and shown support,” he said.
“There should be awareness regarding this issue. We see that most children who have been victims of child sexual abuse do not open up to their parents because there is a taboo about child sex abuse in India and in general,” he added.
“This Yatra is our Jihaad against child sex abuse,” he said.
“We have brought up this issue in front of the Prime Minister of India as well. Kids who have gone through such abuse cannot speak up. I would request the press present here to put up their cameras so that everyone knows about child sex abuse,” he said.
Answering a question about the alleged rape of an ‘estimated 5000’ children in Mondji area of Kashmir’s Sopore, by the accused Moulvi Aijaz Sheikh, he said that he cannot comment on it since it is undergoing a judicial process.
Satyarthi impressed upon the audience the need for a law which would stop the trafficking of children in India.
“Every hour, 8 kids in India are picked up, stolen, and sold for slavery and other child labour, abuse purposes. There should be a law which will stop this evil of child trafficking,” he said.
“This is a huge step and it is showing success. The process has accelerated and Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh has expressed support in this regard,” he said.
The ‘Yatra’ that the laureate is on, is ending on October 16 in New Delhi. “Even though this Yatra is coming to an end on October 16 in Delhi, that doesn’t mean that we are going to stop our campaign against CSA there,” said Satyarthi.
Referring to CSA as a moral epidemic, he said that this ‘war’ on CSA cannot be won through conventional means. “This raises a broader issue of violence of any form against children. Violence is not the answer to anything,” he said.
Satyarthi said that he has talked to kids in Kashmir who were very ‘friendly’ and expressed a lot of support and friendship without any ‘hesitation’.
“These beautiful kids here gave a very warm welcome. Kashmir’s kids are like my own kids,” he said.
“Even if one kid in the country is unsafe, then the entire country is unsafe,” he added.
When asked what his stand on the use of pellet-guns in Kashmir was, he said that he was against any form of violence without commenting on the particular issue of the pellet gun usage in the state.
“I am not a politician, so I wont comment on that, but I have only one motive and that is saving kids from violence. It is important to treat the kids with love and respect, and not sympathy and pity. Respecting a child is very important,” he added.
The Nobel laureate also mentioned the burnt schools of Kashmir, which were burned in 2016 and said that it was a pity that schools were made the target of violence and said that it is the death of humanity.