KSCF intensifies ‘Rape-free India’ campaign

Pranita Roy
Wednesday, 15 May 2019

“We have purposely taken the campaign in election season because no one has still discussed the highest number of crimes happening in the country against women and children." said Omprakash.

PUNE: Taking the opportunity of election season, NGO Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation (KSCF) has intensified its ‘Rape-free India’ campaign in the country. With an aim to completely eradicate crime against children, the organisation has now extended the campaign to 20 states including Maharashtra.

The organisation has launched the campaign in the State along with Ashamant Foundation, Solapur, and Saraswati Sevabhavi Sanstha, Beed.

Satyarthi’s director of the campaign, Omprakash, stated that in every 15 minutes, one molestation case is registered, whereas in every half hour, a rape takes place and per day, there are 100 rape cases. According to Women and Child Development (WCD) statistic, 54 per cent of children in the country are sexually abused.

“We have purposely taken the campaign in election season because no one has still discussed the highest number of crimes happening in the country against women and children. No policy-making plans or agendas have been promised so far. We wish to highlight the adversity of the brewing condition in the nation and urgent need of attention to curb the crime through this,” said Omprakash.

The campaign was started in 2017 focusing on six vulnerable states including Bihar, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Delhi, Rajasthan and Maharashtra.

The campaign demands the inclusion of a national action plan to add ‘Rape-free India’ in the budget. “For starters, at least 10 per cent of the budget under WCD should be allocated for protection of children in the country,” he said. 

Omprakash also stated that considering the pendency of cases of crime against children in Maharashtra, a child has to wait for justice till the year 2032. “That is the time estimated for clearance of all cases in the State. If the crime stops today in our country, then the child will probably be in his/her 60s or 70s to get justice,” he said.

“Therefore, another major demand we have made is to fast-track the pendency cases,” said Omprakash.

The organisation has involved over 68 Maharashtra leaders including Nitin Gadkari, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Supriya Sule, Hansraj Ahir among others to pledge and promote the campaign. It has also requested all parties to suspend candidates who have been accused of rape and molestation cases.

The organisation is also working on the proper implementation of government schemes like victim compensation scheme by the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA),  

Omprakash also highlighted several other loopholes in the system, which block the smooth functioning of child protection in the country. He stated that Child Welfare Committee (CWC), which was formed under Juvenile Justice Act (JJA) often faces problems in functioning, as few staffers don’t have offices, limited or no resources are available to rescue children, while there are no funds for law enforcement meetings. 

According to the District Child Protection Unit (DCPU), every district should have children’s home, “but not every district has a child home,” said Omprakash. 

The organisation has so far rescued 85,000 children from child trafficking from across the nation. Omprakash stated that maximum children were from Bihar, West Bengal, Assam, Chhattisgarh and Orissa who are trafficked to different states. “One of the ways to stop child trafficking is proper implementation of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) under which a child will be enrolled in a school till the age of 14 years. This will help to curb trafficking,” he said.

Speaking about marital rape, Omprakash said, “Rape doesn’t feature in any political agenda, so marital rape is out of the question. However, when we speak about rape, it is needed to be viewed in totality.”

“Marital rape in child marriage should be considered as rape only. We had filed a petition in Supreme court (SC) to do so. After which, the court identified such children under the need of care and protection category in JJA,” he added, stating the country lacks awareness and sensitivity in rape and sex education.

- Maharashtra stands second after Uttar Pradesh in crimes against children including rape, molestation and sexual abuse during 2016. 
- Around 14,559 cases of crimes against children, which equals to 14 per cent of the total cases under Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Protection of Children against Sexual Offences (POCSO) were registered in Maharashtra alone in 2016. 
- In 2012, the number of cases was 3,456 in the State. 
- Maharashtra has shown a growing trend of crimes against children with an increase of 321 per cent between 2012 to 2016.
Source: National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB)

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