Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi today urged the government to set up a national tribunal for children that would oversee the effective and expeditious disposal of cases related to child abuse and assault. He was speaking at an event held here to mark the culmination of his ‘Bharat Yatra’ spanning 11,000 km across 22 states.
President Ram Nath Kovind joined the Nobel Peace prize winner in lighting a ceremonial ‘diya’ – Bal Suraksha Jyoti, and symbolically called out to children, who are shrouded in the darkness of abuse, to walk towards the light of freedom, a statement from Satyarthi’s office said.
“I humbly propose three things – legal deterrence, resources for children and preventive measures to be taken for the safety and security of children across the country,” he said. “Satyarthi also urged the government to set up a national children’s tribunal,” the statement said.
“This body would be like the NGT (Nationa Green Tribunal) and would oversee effective and expeditious disposal of cases related to child abuse and assault, rehabilitation in cases of abuse and other safety matters including enforcement of laws and relief and compensation for damage and trauma,” he was quoted as saying in the statement.
He also said that to reap the benefits of India’s democratic dividend, the country should have a “higher budgetary allocation” for children. “Currently it is about four per cent. Every ministry should have a special allocation for children as child protection budget,” Satyarthi said.
“Third, to prevent children across India, survivors of the most grievous forms of trafficking, are demanding that a strong anti-human trafficking law be passed with a renewed sense of urgency. “Let us promise them today, that a strong anti-human trafficking law be passed in the upcoming session of Parliament. I look to the leadership of this country to listen, and act,” he asserted.
Kovind said the Yatra will be remembered as “one of the historic movements of social change, world over.”
“On the one hand, man has created many scientific miracles, while on the other side, demons in the guise of humans, even today, are playing with our children’s lives,” the President said. “If a child is insecure today, the whole society is guilty for this situation,” he said.
Kovind urged Satyarthi to draw a “five-year road map” to help build an India that is safe for children, free of all abuse. “Because without that, we cannot progress towards building the ‘New India’ we have visualised,” he said.
The 35-day journey led by the Nobel Laureate was undertaken to press for the safety and security of children across the country. Starting from Kanniyakumari in Tamil Nadu, the Yatra received support from various ministers and political leaders in each of the 22 states it travelled through. Celebrities such as Amitabh Bachchan, Anupam Kher, Dhanush, Latha Rajnikath, Vivek Oberoi provided wholehearted support for the Yatra, the statement said.
Music band ‘Indian Ocean’ rendered the song ‘Nikal Pade Hein’ written by Satyarthi, while Google partnered with the Yatra and chalked out the route to show their solidarity for the cause, it said.