Students from various schools in Ranchi in one voice today demanded that violence against them should be stopped and the silence on the issue broken.
Vidya Kumari studying in class 8 in Nagari government school wanted to know why children are compelled to work while 13 year old UNICEF child reporter Indresh Tirkey from Government Middle School Harmu felt that child abuse is a violation of their right. Children also raised many questions in the meeting on violence against them – Why are girls married at 16 or 17 years; what can we do if we are hit by teachers or parents in school and home; what is the police doing to prevent rapes; what action is being taken to prevent foeticide etc. Most of the students reported that they are often hit in school and at home.
Launching a 3-month ENDviolence against Children campaign launched jointly by JharkhandPolice and UNICEF in Jharkhand, ADG of Jharkhand Police, Mr SN Pradhan said, “All children have a human right to survival and development. They need to be aware of good and bad touch and must raise their voice against abuse. Children can speak to a person they trust and report all such incidents on the helpline number.”
Information and education material on child abuse and protection measures was released during the programme by the Yuwa Girls (NGO for sports for development). A help line No. 88 77 44 44 44 was launched to register cases of abuse against children.
Job Zachariah, Chief of UNICEF in Jharkhand said that about 53% children are subjected to sexual abuse and 69% to physical violence in India, as per the study of Ministry of Women and Child Development. “Often, the abusers are parents, teachers and close relatives. About two-third (65%) of children are beaten in schools. But most children do not report abuse or violence”, he said. Mr. Zachariah pointed out that corporal punishment in school is banned as per section 17 of the Right to Education Act.
Ms. Sampat Meena, IG Crime said, “We need to raise awareness about this issue among children, parents, and teachers as well as police personnel. There should be ‘zero tolerance’ for violence against boys and girls”.
Rooplaxmi Munda, Chairperson, State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR) said, “There has been a rise in crime against children. Children are abused inside and outside the house. We need to raise awareness about laws relating to child protection.”