Promises to meet pellet victims in future, declines to comment on past
Srinagar, Oct 9: Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi on Monday urged the children in Kashmir to stay away from violence.
Without naming anyone, the social activist said children should not be used for violence.
Satyarthi, who is criss-crossing the country as part of his campaign to spread awareness about crime against children, was speaking at a gathering of students from schools in Kashmir, which was rocked by a spate of incidents of stone- pelting by children and youths.
“I will knock the doors of governments in Delhi and in Srinagar and tell them to allow the children to study and rise as high as they can.
“I will make appeals and prayers for you and need be, I will struggle too, provided you stay away from violence,” Satyarthi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 for waging a peaceful struggle to protect children from being exploited as labour, said.
He said together “we will win this battle for safe childhood and a safe India”.
Satyarthi made a strong appeal that children should not be used for violence and condemned the burning of schools.
“I have one request – stay away from violence. Do not use children for violence. Do whatever you want, whichever way you want…. You will face the consequences or you may gain something. However, children are for moving ahead.
“They can achieve everything with education, he said, adding, “They are your children and our children too.
Satyarthi said violence has not solved any issue the world over as it only perpetuated more violence.
Apparently referring to burning of schools in Kashmir during last year’s agitation, Satyarthi said such incidents saddened him.
“Whenever a school is set on fire anywhere in the world, and we had many such incidents, whoever might be behind those, dreams of hundreds of students go up in flames. Their future perishes.
“The power gained by education — from books and computers — is far more stronger than any chair one can occupy,” he said.
The Nobel laureate said there was a need for an effective law to prevent child trafficking as eight children are kidnapped every hour for selling into slavery.
“Thankfully, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, at one of our recent functions, said the government is ready for it,” he said.
Asked about his “silence” on “pellet victims”, Satyarthi said he would not go into what happened in the past.
“Today I have come here to be the strongest voice for protection of the children of Kashmir,” he said.
On whether he would meet the pellet victims, he said he would definitely want to meet them.
“I promise I will come again to meet them,” he said.
The use of pellet guns by forces to counter violent protesters in Kashmir had evoked criticism from many quarters.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said the society has to speak up about child abuse rather than silencing the victims due to social stigma.
“My request is to the parents to talk with their children to find out if they are suffering from any kind of abuse be it at home or schools or anywhere else,” she said.
Protect children: Mehbooba
Children of Jammu and Kashmir unfortunately have become victims of violence and uncertainty, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said on Monday as she appealed all sections of society to play their role in protecting their childhood.
Addressing a function on raising awareness about child abuse here today, the Chief Minister said the issues of the children of Jammu and Kashmir are bigger than their counterparts elsewhere. She said children here unfortunately have become victims of violence and uncertainty, thus robbing them of their innocent childhood.
The function was organised by J&K State Commission for Women in collaboration with Kailash Sathyarthi Foundation.
Mehbooba Mufti appealed parents and teachers equally to treat children with care, share their time with them and listen to their issues. She appreciated the organizers for holding the function which she said would raise the level of awareness among people regarding child abuse, which often gets unnoticed. She asked for raising voice against the crimes of child abuse by bringing them to fore.
Lauding the role and contribution of Kailash Sathyarthi, the Chief Minister hoped that his experiences would be beneficial to the children and Government of the State. She hoped that the Noble Laureate would help the children of the State in carrying on with their education without any disruption or difficulty.
Mehbooba Mufti hoped that more such initiatives are taken for raising awareness level among children. She asked the Women’s Commission chairperson to convene such awareness camps across the State as well.
In his passionate speech, Noble Laureate and child rights activist, Kailash Sathyarthi appealed for protecting the rights of the children, in particular their childhood and their education. He said an injury to a kid sends pain through the entire humanity. He said the innocence of the children gives us lot many lessons about the simplicity of life and appealed all sections of people to protect their innocence.
Chairman, Zee Media Ltd., Dr. Subhash Chandra also spoke on the occasion and pledged his support to the cause.
Earlier in her welcome address, Chairperson, State Commission for Women, Nayeema Ahmad Mehjoor gave an overview of the status of children in the State. She said despite a very favourable drop our rate among students technology interventions in children’s lives have posed new challenges. For this, she said, the child protection mechanism needs to be strengthened.
The participants on the occasion took a pledge to work for preventing child abuse in the society.
Child rights activists, senior officers and students from several schools were present on the occasion.
Later, the Chief Minister flagged off the next leg of Bharat yatra by Kailash Sathyarthi Foundation. The yatra aimed at spreading awareness about child abuse, was started from Kanyakumari on September 11 and so far it has covered 11 thousand Kilometres and is expected to conclude at the national capital on October 16.