Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi at a rally in Bhubaneswar on Tuesday. Picture by Ashwinee Pati
Bhubaneswar, Sept. 26: Various awareness programmes on issues concerning safety of children and young girls were held in the city today under Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi's nationwide campaign, Bharat Yatra.
Satyarthi's movement against child sexual abuse and human trafficking aims to raise collective concern about the safety of children.
A huge rally was held today from Janta Maidan to Kalinga Stadium, where a programme was organised for Satyarthi, who created awareness in the people about sexual violence against children.
The rally was led by 100 marchers, including abuse and trafficking survivors. Other marchers were school and college students, socialactivists, government officials, religious leaders and local residents.
The event is a culmination of three years of campaign against child sexual abuse. Increasing awareness, reporting of cases, strengthening of the institutional response, including medical health and compensation, ensuring protection for victims and witnesses during trial and increasing conviction rate in a time bound manner are the objectives of the campaign.
"There has been an alarming rise in sexual violence cases against children. Fear and social inhibitions often stop our daughters and sons from reporting these crimes. Even parents try to hide crimes against children because they often know the perpetrators. In such a scenario, there is a growing sense of fear, particularly in the cases of teenage and young girls in the family," said Satyarthi while addressing school students today.
Around 10 mass awareness programmes will be organised every day under the campaign. These programmes will involve school and college students, along with leaders from diverse social, cultural, religious, media and corporate organisations. Each day, thousands of local residents would join the programmes in solidarity and support. There will be use of theatre, music and folklore in local languages to create awareness against violence inflicted on children.
"There is an urgent need of mass awareness and public mobilisation on these issues concerning children and girls. India has a tradition of yatras or marches for social rejuvenation and reawakening, such as the Dandi March in 1930. It is now time for another such mass awareness movement for building a safe India for our children. Through the Bharat Yatra, efforts will be made to build a common consensus to end all kinds of violence against children, especially child sexual abuse and child trafficking," Satyarthi said.
Bharat Yatra is being organised from August to October 2017 from Kanyakumari to Delhi. The yatra will cover 15,000 km across 25 states. It will reach Angul tomorrow and thereafter reach Sambalpur where similar event will be organised..