Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi on Tuesday described as a “national emergency” the “alarming and unstoppable” rise in rape and abuse of children, and urged political parties to devote one day of Parliament to formulate plans for expeditious delivery of justice to the victims. Stories of child rape and sexual abuse such as that from Kathua, Unnao, Surat and Sasaram will continue to emerge every day in the absence of a responsive and speedy justice delivery system, he said here at the release of a report, titled ‘The Children Cannot Wait’, that highlights the situation of pendency of child sexual abuse cases in the country.
“Each time a daughter is raped and killed, India’s soul is raped and killed. Every day, 55 children are raped in India. The ideals of a progressive and free India will never be realised as long as our children are unsafe,” Satyarthi said. “I call (on) all the political parties to devote one day in Parliament to formulate a ‘National Budgeted Action Plan’ for expeditious delivery of justice for rape and violence against children,” he said, according to an official statement.
The 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner reiterated his demand for a ‘national children’s tribunal’ to uphold the principles of natural justice for child survivors of abuse and also asked for exclusive fast-track courts for swift disposal of cases registered under the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO).
“Stories of child rape and sexual abuse such as that from Kathua, Unnao, Surat and Sasaram will continue to emerge every day in the absence of a responsive and speedy justice delivery system,” Satyarthi said.
An eight-year-old girl was gang-raped and killed in Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir earlier this year. In Unnao in Uttar Pradesh, a 17-year-old girl has alleged that she was raped by a BJP MLA. In Surat in Gujarat, a minor girl was raped, killed and left in a cricket field. In Sasaram in Bihar, a minor girl was raped by her neighbour.
The report, presented by the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation (KSCF), outlines a state-wise timeline of pendency of cases of child sexual abuse.