Says children should not be used for political ambitions; refuses to comment on AFSPA, pellet guns
Srinagar: Winner of the Nobel Peace prize, Kailash Satyarthi, who is on a ‘Bharat Yatra’ to spread awareness about crimes against children, held a press conference in Srinagar on Monday in which he refused to comment on the law that gives immunity to armed forces, AFSPA, and on the use of pellet guns in Kashmir, saying he doesn’t want to indulge in political debates.
Satyarthi was flanked by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and the chairperson of the State Women’s Commission at the presser. He had come to Srinagar as part of his yatra across India that started from Kanyakumari, the subcontinent’s southern tip.
Urging children in Kashmir to stay away from violence, Satyarthi asked pro-freedom leaders (without naming them) to abstain from “the practice of using children for their political ambitions”.
In reply to a query on the use of pellet guns, he said, “Let me know more about the issue and talk to the victims.”
He said he was against all sorts of violence against children. He appealed to parents to save their children from violence.
“I would like to give a strong message to the children of Jammu and Kashmir: to stay away from violence, because it perpetuates violence,” he said.
Asked whether he has any position on the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), the Nobel Peace laureate said, “I am neither a politician nor any representative, so I am not indulging in any sort of political debate.”
Earlier in the day, he addressed a large gathering of students in which he said he would knock every door from New Delhi to Srinagar for the welfare of children.
“I will tell every government to allow children to study and rise as high as they can. I will make appeals and prayers for you… provided you stay away from violence,” he said.
Born in Vidisha district of Madhya Pradesh, Satyarthi acquired a degree in electrical engineering before working as a teacher. In 1980, he left teaching and founded Bachpan Bachao Andolan, which has freed thousands of children from slave-like conditions.
He said nearly 9 lakh people have taken the pledge to fight child abuse. “Our target was 10 lakh but we are going to cross 12 lakh. One crore people have taken the pledge online,” he said.