Of Child Abuse, New India 2022 & Dharma

Posted on August 17, 2017

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Recently I came upon a gruesome video of a child being abused. It was floating around on social media and people had made it viral, all to score a point about which religion is good, bad or ugly. There was little regard to – this is highly sensitive and should be reported to the police or relevant NGO’s and making this video viral could endanger the child who looked to be below 10.

For some time I have been talking about the issue of child abuse in India which is rampant – approximately 53% of Indian kids have been abused at some point, not because of the proclivity of one religion or the other but because it is such a huge blind spot for Indians. This blind spot allows evil people to get away with their activities. Imagine the furore caused by a stalking in Haryana but not a peep about rampant child abuse cases you will hear of. We have 100K-200K missing kids each year. At least, 50% get sex trafficked, many sold to perverts to die. Why is this not a war situation? What is wrong with us?

Children are most fragile and vulnerable (and by child I mean pre adolescence, not to take away from adolescent abuse but that has to be addressed separately) and are most abused of any other group in India either through sexual abuse or physical or mental abuse. A lot of these issues stem from our vacuous laws i.e., definition of child, muddying the waters with religion and our societal structure that demands complete obedience to authority (and these authority figures abuse the kids – how many times you listen to Moms saying, beta baat maanna, don’t reply back etc etc – you are making your child extremely vulnerable by squashing independent thinking). Also child abuse, particularly sexual abuse is so dark and so awful and the victim so fragile and helpless and quiet that it is easier for our people to pretend that it does not happen. It is easier for our people to go to malls, watch Bollywood, cricket and become armchair commentators on the state of Indian politics – all from twitter and Facebook.

In other nations a Nithari sort of episode would have prompted a serious overhaul but so many years down the line (11+) we are still waiting for answers. Who was abusing those kids, who knew and what happened to them. Today people who are aware of the #Gorakhpur #encephalitis epidemic due to the child deaths this months are demanding an overhaul of the medical system. Those Nithari kids and 1000’s other who go missing die much more gruesome deaths at the hands of perverts. Why the silence? When the Tarun Tejpal episode came to fore he was destroyed, but child molesters never even get noticed and walk free. People talk domestic abuse but people never talk child abuse. People are even talking marital rape, but what about child rape. Why are there no crowds marching on the street for the two boys who died in Mumbai? This is the kind of stuff our ancestors would have fought wars for and died for.

In a nation where children are supposed to be worshiped, this lacuna is untenable and completely Adharmic. Some actions need to be taken not for votes, not for recognition but because they are right actions. Saving our children is Dharma. Turning a blind eye is Adharma of the worst kind. In fact, given the scale of the problem there is no bigger action that needs to be taken at this point – to make our country safe for all kids, from all walks of life.

In a nation where we have now unveiled “New India 2022”, I ask how can we have New India when we have such evil being perpetuated against our kids. If 50% of our kids are abused, how will they produce a new India. They will spend their entire lives, shutting off the damage, coping with it and never reaching their potential. Those are the lucky ones and the unlucky smaller percentage will be crazed, dead or mutilated.

There are plenty of 8-10 year olds in our red light areas. What New India for them? In Hyderabad so many below 10 year old’s marry old Sheikhs for one night. Baccha Baazi with little boys is rampant in Hyderabad and Kerala. And this is NOT religion specific. Our orphanages are breeding grounds for child abuse with the administration running the show.  These are the obvious cases but what about those kids at home sexually abused by a teacher, relative or even a parent. They just feel terrible but are so confused because an authority figure is doing this.

.Please make a safe India for kids a key part of “NEW INDIA 2022”. We must rid the nation of this evil.

I will not expound more on this as there is plenty to search for, but below are some thoughts that might be helpful (although the government and authorities have likely thought through this).

  1. We need a correct and accurate definition of CHILD. A child is NOT someone under 18. The moment we do that, we mix up gender with consent with maturity with what not and muddy the waters. A child is below 13-14. Have a clear definition of child if we want to protect and defend them. Do not fall into the western NGO trap of defining a child’s age – they all have mixed agendas including child labor and this is not that. By all means have a separate set of laws for adolescents but keep the child segment separate. Their needs are most and they are most vulnerable.
  2. Our senior leaders and authority figures must talk about this. Just like “Swacch Bharat”, people must talk about this – politicians, media, actors, sportsmen. Without this becoming a talking point, our chalta hai attitude will drown us. People in positions of authority should be encouraged to come out with their own stories.
  3. Either split up Ministry of Women and Child Development or create a separate sub ministry. Presently the needs of children are being overwhelmed by the gender warriors from western NGO’s. That is why boy sex abuse is completely absent from the ministry’s agenda.
  4. Do not make this about religion. This is not about padres or mullahs or godmen. The rot is all over and there is enough blame to share. Free our children.
  5. Align state and central laws & policing with regards to “Child Abuse” particularly “Child Sex Abuse”. Without that alignment we will never be able to tackle the problem given votebanks and corruption.
  6. Educate, educate, educate. Make media a force for educating children about “Good touch/ bad touch”, which NGO to go to in need and what actions to take. Also make the population alert to observing potential anomalies.
  7. DO NOT let religious NGO’s prey upon innocents. I recently noticed that some padres were manning the phones at Childline. That is like the fox guarding the henhouse
  8. CREATE A SOUTH ASIAN CAUCUS – Align with South East Asian countries to deal with child trafficking and child abuse. These are all our extended civilization. Any coordination and lessons learnt will be useful for all.
  9. Law and Penalty
  10. ….

I hope and pray that this heinous topic will get notice and some action will be taken. In the past I had no hope, however, with this government I hope that this evil will be addressed.

Update August 25th, 2017: I recently read a great article and spoke to a couple of people about the Child Abuse situation in India and the approach being used to resolve. UNICEF – manipulates data to show Indian families abusive 

http://www.sundayguardianlive.com/news/1567-unicef-misrepresented-indian-families-being-abusive-when-data-suggested-otherwise

This is alarming because I see Kailash Satyarthi lead the effort against Child Abuse which is noble but he also has a distinct western agenda. Any approach that denigrates India and destroy’s Indian family is unacceptable. The same with current Ministry of WCD. They have a distinct western worldview.

 

 

 

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