Bengaluru: As Bharat Yatra, the pan-India march led by Nobel Peace laureate Kailash Satyarthi, reached Bengaluru, thousands of school and college students, members of Confederation Indian Industry (CII), Young Indians (Yi), child abuse survivors under the banner of various NGOs and concerned citizens took to the streets chanting #MakeIndiaSafe.
The world-renowned child rights advocate had a busy day in the city attending multiple events interacting with as many as 15,000 children from different schools and colleges at various venues.
Addressing a gathering at Christ University campus after the march, Satyarthi urged, “At the Silicon Valley of India, I demand a technological war to be waged against child abuse to ensure their safety across the nation. A technology to protect our children is quintessential at the moment. Surely our young innovators and scientists can create new apps that will help us protect our children more effectively? Simple things can make a big difference.”
Dr Kripa Amar Alva, chairperson of Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, flagged off the Bengaluru stretch of the march at ITI grounds. Participants in yellow and white flocked the city on Saturday till Christ University creating mass awareness to build a “Surakshit Bhajpan, Surakshit Bharat,” which means “Safe Childhood, Safe India.”
Stressing on the importance of developing a registry of sex offenders, Satyrathi said, “A public sex offenders’ registry should be developed including mug shots of the violators to help people identify them at any situation. With software engineers, innovators and scientists joining hands, a robust registry can be built to monitor and to prevent such issues in future.”
Satyarthi: Neevu Nanna Mitraana?
In a bid to bridge the possibilities of using visual communication to spread awareness on child abuse and the same, a one-minute film making competition, named ‘Leher’, was launched by Satyarthi at Bal Bhavan on Saturday.
An initiative by CII-Yi, the competition aims to bring to the table 52 selected short films from across the nation. “Leher will suffice the dearth of video material we face at the moment to help all stakeholders of the society realise what child abuse is, along with other societal villains,” said Dr Kaushik Murali, president of Yi Bengaluru.
Launching the initiative, Satyarthi said, “Bharat Yatra is a march from fear to freedom. It is high time we have a new law against trafficking, which is the modern form of slavery. The old and sick Indian mindset of covering up issues of child abuse should change.”
He urged the audience to speak against such cases reminding them that “silence brings more violence.” Summing his public address, he said, “We are in need of apps that help us determine whether a place is safe. In future with the use of biometrics, developers should also try to develop a system to determine whether a person one approaches runs perverted thoughts.”Whiel interacting with child survivors at the event, he asked, “Neevu Nanna Mitraana?” (Are you my friend?) for which he got an overwhelming response, “haudu” (Yes), spreading smiles all around.