THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi said that every minute two children are sexually abused and eight children go missing. "I refuse to accept this situation. None of us have the option to remain silent,” Mr Satyarthi said at a function organised here on Tuesday by the State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights. “The march that I am undertaking now is a war to end sexual abuse of children, child trafficking, and exploitation of children of any kind,” the Nobel laureate said. “This is a non-violent war against violence,” he added. The Nobel laureate was in the capital as part of Bharat Yatra, a march that was flagged off in Kanyakumari on September 11 and will traverse 22 states and 11,000 kms before culminating in New Delhi on October 15.
Accompanying Satyarthi are 200 children he had rescued from abuse and rehabilitated. Mr Satyarthi spoke about a sexually-abused four-year-old tribal girl he had met recently in her village in Madhya Pradesh. The girl was abducted from her little shack, abused and then abandoned in the jungle. “When I met her I was told she had stopped talking. I found her seriously traumatised. The family, too, was. I told her parents not to cry in front of her,” Mr Satyarthi said. He then tried to extract some emotion in the girl. He tried telling stories, cracked jokes, asked about friends. Nothing worked. She just sat looking upwards.
It was then that Satyarthi noticed a boy of three in the girl’s mother’s arms. It was her little brother. Satyarthi then turned to the girl and told her that her brother had complained that she frequently bullied him and beat him. The girl, as if suddenly given a jolt, jerked her head and said ‘no’. “It is a lie. It is he who beats me,” she said. Everyone had tears in their eyes. “My job was to extract some sound from the silence,” he said. It was the very same thing that Satyarthi said in his Nobel acceptance speech. “I am representing here the sound of silence. The cry of innocence. And, the face of invisibility,” Mr Satyarthi said in the speech delivered on December 10, 2014.
Mr Satyarthi also exhorted children to think big. He told how as an 11-year-old he had set up a book bank in his native village in Madhya Pradesh. “The idea originated when I found that many of my friends were leaving school because they could not afford to buy books. So me and my friends hired a cart and went around our colony asking people to donate books that they have no need for. In two hours we collected 2500 books. We collected all those books into a ‘Book Bank’,” Satyarhti said....