USTM, Techno City, September 23: Nobel Peace Laureate and founder of the Bachpan Bachao Andolan, Kailash Satyarthi, flagged off the Meghalaya lap of his Bharat Yatra march at a function held at the University of Science & Technology Meghalaya on Saturday. Zenith M Sangma, Minister Sports & Youth Affairs, Meghalaya, was also present on the o Satyarthi occasion.
Satyarthi on September 11 commenced his 35-day-long nationwide march called ‘Bharat Yatra’- the biggest agitation against child sexual abuse, rape and human trafficking. The 11,000-kilometre ‘yatra’ is touring through 22 states, starting from the coastal city Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu and culminating on October 16 in the national capital.
Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) symbolises India’s largest grassroots movement for the protection of children, ensuring their quality education. As on October 2014, BBA had rescued more than 83,500 victims of trafficking, slavery and child labour and had helped them re-establish trust in society and find promising futures for themselves. Since its establishment by the Indian children’s rights activist Kailash Satyarthi in 1980, BBA has led the world’s largest civil society campaign in the form of the Global March Against Child Labour and has been at the forefront of laying down laws against child labour and trafficking in India.
Following the lighting of the traditional lamp marking the commencement of the function, Mahbubul Hoque, Chancellor, USTM welcomed the dignitaries and participants in the event. He said, USTM and RIST were fortunate not only in receiving and welcoming the Nobel Laureate in their midst, but also because of being a part of the noble mission i.e. BBA. He said, “If our children are safe and happy, we can look forward to a strong and vibrant nation.” He appealed to Satyarthi to set up a chapter of BBA in USTM to speed up the growth of the movement and awareness on which Shri Satyarthi has agreed to open a BBA Chapter at USTM.
Zenith Sangma lauded the mission and vision of BBA which are to create a child friendly society, where all children are free from exploitation and receive free and quality education; and to identify, liberate, rehabilitate and educate children in servitude through direct intervention, child and community participation, coalition building, consumer action, promoting ethical trade practices and mass mobilisation. He said, “The Government of Meghalaya will leave no stones unturned to achieve these goals.”
The 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Satyarthi, in his address said,”One of the major demands through this campaign is that Parliament passes a stringent law against human trafficking, including child trafficking.” Asserting that he has declared a war against rape, sexual abuse and child trafficking, Satyarthi further added, “Bharat Yatra, the biggest movement in history will make India safe again for children. I refuse to accept that the innocence, smiles and freedom of our children can keep getting stripped and raped. These are not ordinary crimes. This is a moral epidemic haunting our nation.”
“Our children are not safe either in homes, schools or neighbourhood or anywhere and the perpetrators (of such crimes) roam freely. We just cannot wait and watch,” he said. Following his address, Satyarthi had an engrossing interactive session with the students present on the occasion. Following the vote of thanks offered by Prof Alaka Sarma, Dean Students Welfare and SSS&H, USTM, Satyarthi flagged off the Bharat Yatra Rally where more than 1,500 students participated.