Clarion call for Surakshit Bachpan-Surakshit Bharat (safe childhood-safe India)

Chennai hosts Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi
Chennai hosts Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi

Chennai: The Bharat Yatra, undertaken by Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi reached Chennai, and the march in the City was flagged off on the 13th of September, with High Court Chief Justice Indira Banerjee as the guest of honour at the event held at Stella Maris college. The Bharat Yatra entered its third day. It was flagged off from the Vivekananda Rock Memorial, Kanniyakumari on Monday,11th September, in the presence of Sh. Pon Radhakrishnan, Union Minister of State for Shipping and Finance.

Justice Banerjee addressed an audience of students, youth and other dignitaries, expressing her concern at the growing instances of child abuse and rape across the country. 

“Society has a responsibility towards children. Innocent children grow up to be the adults we want them to be. If educated they will grow up as responsible citizens.Right to life includes in it's fold all the basic human rights.Therefore, the fundamental duty of citizens is to take care of their children.”said Justice Banerjee

Emphasising on the alarming nature  of child abuse,she further stated,”Do not hide incidence of abuse. Children who are abused are not at fault. It is abusers who have to be shunned. It's the abusers who need to be punished”

The marchers, protesting the injustice that the children of the country face daily, walked from Rajarathinam Stadium and were joined by renowned film actor Dhanush, who has wholeheartedly shown support for the Bharat Yatra.

The marchers called upon the youth of the country to step up and fight for children across India. 

The Yatra flagged off from Kanyakumari and will culminate in New Delhi on the 16th of October covering U11000 kilometres across 22 States, including Tamil Nadu. Some of the key cities it covers include Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Guwahati, Bhopal, Jaipur, Srinagar among others. It has received whole hearted support from the Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi. 

The problems of child sexual abuse and trafficking in the state of Tamil Nadu is a cause of great concern for the Nobel Laureate.

“I will not rest till children of this country are not safe. I am not going to stop fighting if the raping and abuse do not stop.  I cannot sleep in peace until we win our war against rape and abuse. This moral epidemic haunts our nation, and it is time we fight against it, together”, said Mr Satyarthi

According to reports, more than 10% of the victims of cases reported under POCSO Act, 2012 across the country, hailed from Tamil Nadu. In 100% of the cases registered in 2015 under POCSO 4 & 6 (Penetrative sexual assault on children), the perpetrator was known to the survivor/child victim.

Re-iterating his mission behind launching the Bharat Yatra; he said “Why am I marching?, because my children are being raped. I refuse to accept that eight children go missing and two are raped every hour. Each time if a single child is in danger, India is in danger. Bharat Yatra is to make India safe again for our children.”

Kailash Satyarthi has been campaigning for the freedom, safety and security for children across the globe for the past 36 years. His Nobel Peace Prize (2014) was for his continuous efforts and struggle for the rights children.

The Yatra is the launch of the three-year campaign against child rape and child sexual abuse which is aimed at increasing awareness and reporting of the cases, strengthening intuitional response including medical health and compensations, ensuring protection for victims and witnesses during trials and increasing convictions of child sexual abuse in a time bound manner.