Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi on Thursday emphasised the need to work unitedly to protect children from sexual abuse, which he said is essential to give India’s growth story a broader sense of achievement. India’s growth will have broader sense if children have a safe childhood, the child rights activist said at a function held at the Bombay Stock Exchange in connection with his ‘Bharat Yatra’, a 35-day campaign to sensitise people on issues of child trafficking and child sexual abuse.
“India’s growth story with the GDP growing at 9 per cent rate, will have a bigger sense if children get free education and a safe childhood. I call upon the corporates to not only make ‘skilled India’, but also a ‘safe India’ by using your power, influence and skills,” he said.
The yatra will begin from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu on September 11 and conclude in New Delhi on October 15, covering 22 states. It will be attended by sexual offences survivors, students, political leaders and the common people. “Sexual abuse of children is a moral epidemic and we have to wage a war to root it out from the society. These are not ordinary crimes, and unfortunately laws are very obsolete and ineffective to punish them,” he said.
Satyarthi said though the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act is a good law the conviction rate is abysmally dismal and over 90 per cent cases, lodged under the Act, are pending in the courts. “Therefore, the key objective of the yatra is to sensitise the government to soon come up with more effective and stringent laws,” he sai.
Satyarthi also shared his experience of meeting rape survivors and their families. “The most upsetting part is that when a girl or a woman is raped, she is victimised and is made to feel ashamed by the society, but it should be the man, who has committed the crime, should be boycotted and socially ostracised,” he said.
Sathyarthi also acknowledged Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s support towards the cause On the occasion, extending support on behalf of different corporate houses, MD and CEO of BSE, Ashishkumar Chauhan said that he hoped the campaign will usher in a revolution which would help in securing the future of the children. Representatives of various companies and actor Vivek Oberai were present at the occasion.