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Don't use children for violence, says Satyarthi in Kashmir

Press Trust of India  |  Srinagar 

Nobel laureate Satyarthi today urged the children in Kashmir to stay away from violence.

Without naming separatists and militants, the social activist said children should not be used for violence.

Satyarthi, who is criss-crossing the country as part of his campaign to spread awareness about crime against children, was speaking at a gathering of students from schools in Kashmir, which was rocked by a spate of incidents of stone- pelting by children and youths.

"I will knock the doors of governments in and in and tell them to allow the children to study and rise as high as they can.

"I will make appeals and prayers for you and need be, I will struggle too, provided you stay away from violence," Satyarthi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 for waging a peaceful struggle to protect children from being exploited as labour, said.

He said together "we will win this battle for safe childhood and a safe India".

Satyarthi made a strong appeal that children should not be used for violence and condemned the burning of schools.

"I have one request - stay away from violence. Do not use children for violence. Do whatever you want, whichever way you want.... You will face the consequences or you may gain something. However, children are for moving ahead.

"They can achieve everything with education, he said, adding, "They are your children and our children too.

Satyarthi said violence has not solved any issue the world over as it only perpetuated more violence.

Apparently referring to burning of schools in Kashmir during last year's agitation, Satyarthi said such incidents saddened him.

"Whenever a school is set on fire anywhere in the world, and we had many such incidents, whoever might be behind those, dreams of hundreds of students go up in flames. Their future perishes.

"The power gained by education -- from books and computers -- is far more stronger than any chair one can occupy," he said.

The Nobel laureate said there was a need for an effective law to prevent child trafficking as eight children are kidnapped every hour for selling into slavery.

"Thankfully, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, at one of our recent functions, said the government is ready for it," he said.

Asked about his "silence" on "pellet victims", Satyarthi said he would not go into what happened in the past.

"Today I have come here to be the strongest voice for protection of the children of Kashmir," he said.

On whether he would meet the pellet victims, he said he would definitely want to meet them.

"I promise I will come again to meet them," he said.

The use of pellet guns by security forces to counter violent protesters in Kashmir had evoked criticism from some quarters.

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said the society has to speak up about child abuse rather than silencing the victims due to social stigma.

"My request is to the parents to talk with their children to find out if they are suffering from any kind of abuse be it at home or schools or anywhere else," she said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, October 09 2017. 17:57 IST