Noble Laureate Kailash Styarthi had urged the Chief Minister of Assam cooperate with the organisation in providing immediate help for the rescued children. Anindita Das reports on his Guwahati visit
Attired in white kurta pyjama and a gamocha around his neck, Kailash Satyarthi’s simplicity and sobriety designate him to be the man of action. The Noble Peace Laureate from India, who had been dedicatedly working for the rights and privileges of children across the world, visited Assam for the first time after he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014. His worldwide campaign “Bachpan Bachao Andolan” (Save the Childhood Movement) founded in 1980 has been effectively launched in one hundred and forty four countries and was successful in its attempt to work for the development and rehabilitation of children who have been subject to exploitation. However, his acute concern for the high rate of illegal trafficking of children, specifically from Assam, prompted him to take measure towards rehabilitating them. It is unfortunate, he said, that such crime against children takes place in such an alarming rate in the state. He informed that two years ago while dealing with one of his cases relating to trafficking of children, under section 370 and 378, the Supreme Court has provided a verdict that every police station should have a dedicated police officer to take care of such cases. It is very necessary to train and sensitise the police department. Many girls had been rescued from other states hailing from Assam, who were either forced into flesh trade or engaged as bonded labour. It is for this reason that the recently registered Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation (KSCF) has taken the initiative to render immediate help to the rescued children, for their rehabilitation and reintegration. “Assam is the first state to launch the fund of this kind and once it is done it will be replicated in other states”, Satyarthi stated.
On his three days visit to Assam, Satyarthi had been in conversation with the Chief Minister and all other important officials from various departments to take adequate measures in preventing and rehabilitating the rescued children. He talked with the Vice Chancellors of the Universities of the state to form strong groups of students who can visit the villagers to spread awareness and provide support, and would submit report to their respective universities. “Assam is a rich land in terms of culture and tradition, natural resources etc. It is unfortunate that many poor people live in it. I have huge faith in Assamese people, and I know they will support me to help the victims”, he remarked.
“I have been involved with the Assamese people, particularly the tribals who are cheated and trafficked to places like Delhi, Mumbai and Karnataka. It is ironical that large number of young boys and girls are being trafficked through middlemen. The girls are sold in brothels or kept as domestic helps. There is no freedom for them. Some of the girls completely lose hope of meeting their family ever. The parents wait for their daughters and son to return. We try to work on the tips given by the parents and guardians while searching for them, but it is not easy to do so. They are most of the time caught by the same agencies and are not allowed to meet their children. I promise all my support and seek the same from all the concerned people from the state”.
Styarthi had urged the Chief Minister of Assam Tarun Gogoi to cooperate with the organisation in providing immediate help for the rescued children, to reintegrate them in the family and society and also following up with the legal proceedings against the perpetrators. Firstly, he requested the Chief Minister to amass fund for the activities. He further insisted the Chief Minister to appoint a dedicated senior officer in Assam House, Delhi, who will be a helping hand and can monitor the children and other people in terms of safe migration. It is seen that the agents cheat the men and women in various ways, for instance by stealing their wages etc. The third request he placed to the State Government is to make a concrete and active action plan, with a high power steering committee with the Chief Minister as the head. Satyrathi expressed his rejoice for the fact that the Chief Minister responded positively to all his requests.
Satyarthi’s genuine effort to rehabilitate the children can become successful with the cooperation of the government and the corporate sector, along with those who are keen on working for the welfare of the children. Nevertheless, he holds the view has that North East is the mirror of India and if India wants to develop, the region requires to progress too.