● Ravi Shankar Prasad, Sheila Dixit, Digvijay Singh, and Rita Bahuguna Joshi pledge for Rape Free India
● Top leaders from political parties pledge for Rape Free India
May 2019: As part of the ongoing month-old campaign ‘Rape Free India’, top leaders from DMK, INC, AIADMK, and BJP in Tamil Nadu, namely Dhanush M Kumar from DMK, E.V.K.S. Elangovan from Indian National Congress in Tamil Nadu have signed a pledge to make India rape free by 2022. Till date, 19 candidates from Tamil Nadu have pledged for the safety of women and children to support the campaign. The campaign is collectively run by Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation and NEEDS in Tamil Nadu.
Crimes against children in Tamil Nadu (TN) have shown a growing trend with an increase of 175% in the last five years (2012-16). This could be due to the increase in awareness level and improvement in reporting. In 2016, 2,856 cases of crimes against children were reported under Indian Penal Code (IPC) & Protection of Children against Sexual Offences (POCSO). Of all the registered crimes against children across the country in 2016, about 3% were from TN. The state stands at 15th position in terms of percentage share of the total incidences of crimes against children registered during 2016 in the country.
Apart from Tamil Nadu, top leaders from BJP, INC, AAP, TDP, JDU amongst others have joined hands with the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation to pledge for a ‘Rape Free India’. The ongoing campaign which aims to prioritize the safety of children and women in the election agenda has witnessed commitment from over 292 Lok Sabha candidates in less than 25 days. The awareness drive has garnered 292 pledges from leaders across party lines. Top politicians namely Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Min. of Law and Justice, Smt. Rita Bahuguna Joshi, Min. of Women and Child Welfare (Uttar Pradesh), Shri Digvijay Singh, MP and Gen. Secy AICC, Shri Dilip Pandey, Senior Leader AAP, Sheila Dikshit, Former Delhi CM, and East Delhi Lok Sabha candidate, Sharad Yadav amongst others. The campaign demands a budgeted National Action Plan to make a “Rape Free India” and at least 10% allocation for Child Protection in the Union Budget. It also appeals to Party Presidents to suspend any person accused of a sex crime from the political party amidst pending investigation.
The campaign ‘Rape Free India’ initiated on 6th April in Patna has conducted 10 public dialogues so far in Patna, Raipur, Vijayawada, Hyderabad, Bhubaneshwar, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Trichy, Jhansi, and Pune. As the campaigns picks up pace political leaders, youth, corporate, women’s groups, grassroot ngos, and civil society organizations are joining their campaign with a strong resolve to make a ‘New India-Rape Free India’.
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