Child Rights Activists Appeal To Citizens To Vote For The Future Of ALL Children In India

Children don’t vote- but you do!

Let’s vote for our children to grow up with Tolerance and love.

Child rights
Photo Credits : AP Photo/Anupam Nath

Let’s vote for Constitutional Rights for ALL children Let’s vote against violence with impunity, cuts in funding for food, child care, education and killing in the name of religion and cow-vigilantism.

The upcoming election is crucial for the future of children in India, who are in a state of crisis.

Our Constitution guarantees all children the right to early childhood care, nourishment, and education, equal opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity. The constitution also promises protection to our children and youth from violence and exploitation, from being abused or forced by economic necessity to enter occupations unsuited to their age or strength.

There is no doubt that in the last five years, there has been a massive erosion of these Constitutional rights and of the wellness of India’s children. Violence against India’s children has increased disturbingly, while funds to support the basic needs of the most marginalized children has significantly decreased. Crime against children has risen by 16.39% between 2014 and 2016. Union Budgets for children have declined from 4.76% of the total allocations in 2012- 13 to 3.25 % in 2019-20.
Child protection: In 2016, the Global Slavery Index reported that India leads the world in modern slavery, sex, and labor trafficking. Children from vulnerable and marginalized groups have never been so insecure. Intolerance is being promoted actively. These children live in fear. Not only do they suffer from malnourishment, hunger and exploitation, but also have grossly inadequate childcare, and no practical access to education, increasingly children are victims of targeted and extreme violence like sexual abuse, trafficking and ‘cow lynching’.

As horrifying as it sounds, the rapes of children have increased by 82%. Equally horrifying is the fact that many of the child rapists continue to enjoy impunity, especially if the victims are Muslim, Dalit or OBC or other marginalized groups, as illustrated by the Kathua, Unnao and Muzaffarpur, Deoria and other shelter home cases. Cow vigilantes have killed with impunity a 12-year-old Muslim boy traveling to an animal fair in Jharkhand and two other Muslim children in Dadri found with two buffaloes in their truck. The 12-year old was beaten to death and hung from a tree. The fanatical rapists and murderers have been protected and defended simply because of their party and religious affiliation.

In the meanwhile, the introduction of the death penalty for the rapists of children has put them in greater danger. Half of India’s children are sexually abused.

Research demonstrates that very often those who abuse the children are family members or caregivers, Thanks to the death penalty, they often silence the children with great brutality, sometimes even murdering them, to conceal evidence.

On top of that, a clause was introduced in the Child Labour (Prohibition) Act of 2016 allowing children to work in “family enterprises” making at-risk children more vulnerable and confining them to caste-based occupations.

In another regressive measure, the Juvenile Justice Act was amended to allow for children, between the ages of 16 and 18, to be tried as adults in case of heinous offenses. Research shows, putting children into the criminal justice system further criminalizes them. Child rights activists and international children organizations say these children need education and an opportunity to reform and rehabilitation.

Education: The chances of a disadvantaged child fighting for a better future are being further smothered as free schools are being shut down and scholarships for higher education are being de-funded. Budgets for post matric scholarship scheme for SCs has been reduced by 60%; for girls’ hostel for SCs by 40.32 %; for post matric scholarship for OBCs by 17.35% and boys and for girls’ hostel for OBCs by 40%. Children with disabilities still ‘dream’ for inclusion.

History and science textbooks have been rewritten and now blatantly misrepresent historical facts by replacing them with myths. Textbooks and courses are re-enforcing regressive gender stereotypes. Girls are being groomed in some schools and universities to be “trained” in wifehood rather than career aspirations. In a Madhya Pradesh University, a three- month course on wifehood was introduced last year. A recent report by World Bank reveals that educated girls are dropping out of the workforce because they are being groomed to aspire for marriage first. A BJP candidate in Rajasthan even promised to legalize child marriage if elected!

Nutrition and childcare: 38% of children under age five years are stunted; 21 % of children under age five years are wasted, and 36% of children under age five are underweight –all signs of malnutrition and hunger. An estimated 8,143 crèches have closed between 2013-14 and 2016-17, and the number of women and children benefiting from the National Crèche Scheme has been cut by 39% (from 474, 775 to 290,925). Anganwadi workers who cook and care for millions of children as part of the Integrated Child Development Services, the world’s largest infant and pregnant mother nutrition programme, are paid one-tenth of the legal minimum wage. They recently went on strike saying that the government wants to replace the food cooked by them with packaged products made by MNCs. They have not been given food supplements for the last year in many states.

May we take a moment to remind our nation that children have rights as citizens of India, to equality, to personal liberty and due process of law; to nutrition and health and education; to being protected from being trafficked and forced into bonded labour and of course the right of minorities and of weaker sections to be protected from discrimination, social injustice and all forms of exploitation.

Any attempt to demand better for our children is side-lined. We want this to change. We don’t want children to be abused and exploited, forced to work, not go to school, neglected or be discriminated against. We want resources and measures for education, child care, and child protection.

Most of all, we want our children safeguarded and their rights as equal citizens of India to be protected.

Let’s vote for all rights for ALL children. India’s four hundred and eighty million children deserve better. They can’t vote today, you can.
Let’s vote for love, not hate.

1. National Crime Records Bureau
2. Global Slavery Index
3. Government of India- Statements of Union Budget 4. HAQ-Centre for Child Rights


10-11 April 2019

  1. 1. Aatreyee Sen, Forum For Human Rights and Justice, Himachal Pradesh.
    2. Aban Raza, Painter
    3. Abheek Barman, Consulting Editor, The Economic Times, New Delhi
    4. Adv. Anastasia Gill, DMC Member
    5. Alka Saraogi, Writer
    6. Amarendra Shrivastwa, Child rights activist
    7. Amir Rizvi Human Rights Activis
    8. Ananya Chakraborti, Child Rights Activist, Kolkata
    9. AnastasiaGill,Advocate, DMCMember
    10. Anisha Ghosh Child Rights Activist
    11. Anita Ghai, Professor and Disability Rights Activist
    12. AnitaVaccharajani, Writer
    13. Anjali Monteiro, Professor, TISS
    14. Annie Namala, Wada Na Todo Abhiyan
    15. Antara Deb Sen, Writer
    16. Anthony Thomas, Senior Editor, Harper Collins India, Noida UP
    17. Anurag Kundu, Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR)
    18. Apurwa yagnik, Jaipur
    19. Apurwa Yagnik, Jaipur
    20. Arlene Manoharan, Social Worker & Child Rights Professional, Bangalore
    21. Ashish, Jan Jagaran Shakti Sangathan
    22. Ashish Jha, Jan Jagran Shakti Sanghatan
    23. Ashwini Alawadi, co-founder, RAHI, recovering and healing from incest
    24. Ayush Sharda, Ek Packet Umeed, Kolkata
    25. Babu Sarder, Beliaghata Both Foundation
    26. Baitali Ganguly, JABALA, Child Rights Activist, Kolkata
    27. Bharti Sharma, Retired Professor and Child Rights Activist
    28. Bhavreen Khandari, Environment Activist
    29. Bijayalaxmi Rautaray, Secretary, SAHAYOG, Bhubaneswar, Odisha
    30. Biswajit Goswami, Founder and Editor, Shadow and Green
    31. Bushra Alvi Razzak
    32. Chandrakanta, Centre for Social Equity and Inclusion
    33. Chandrakanta Khan, Social Activist, Patna
    34. Chithra Don Bosco
    35. Chitra Gopalakrishnan. Writer and Child Rights Activist
    36. Chitra Soundar, Writer, Storyteller, UK
    37. Chitra Sundar SOUNDAR, writer and storyteller, London
    38. Chris Anthony, Shades of happiness, Consecrated Life Against Trafficking inPersons
    39. Cynthia Stephen, Independent Researcher, Bangalore
    40. Deborah Baker, writer, New York
    41. Deepa Mehta, filmmaker Toronto
    42. Devaki Jain, Feminist Economist and Former Director Institute of SocialStudies Trust
    43. Devasia, Catholic Bishop’s Conference of India office for SC/BC
    44. Dhanpal, HAQ: Centre for Child Rights
    45. Emidio Pinho, SCAN- GOA
    46. Enakshi Ganguly, Child Rights Activist
    47. Esha I Choudhary, Caritas India
    48. Fr. Devasagayaraj, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India Office for SC/BC
    49. Gargi Banerjee, Social activist
    50. Gauri Chakrabarty. Associate Professor, Amity School of Communication
    51. Harsh Mandar, Activist
    52. Ignatius.V, PARA, Andhra Pradesh
    53. Indira Pancholi, Mahila Jan Adhikar Samiti, Child Rights Activist
    54. Indrani Chakraborty, Child Rights Activist, Kolkata
    55. Ishita Mukherjee
    56. Jean Dreze, Economist and Social Activist, Ranchi
    57. Jeroo Mulla, Visiting Faculty, Sophia Polytechnic, Mumbai
    58. John Dayal, Social Activist
    59. Joyatri Ray, Child Rights Activist, Bangalore
    60. Jyoti Duhan Rathi, Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR)
    61. Kajol Menon, Co-Founder LEHER and Child Rights Activist
    62. Kalpana Purushothaman, Psychologist, Bangalore
    63. Kamayani, jan jagran Shakti Sanghatan
    64. Karuna Bishnoi, Child Rights Activist
    65. Keshar Kumar, Trade Unionist
    66. Khushboo Jain Child Rights Researcher, Delhi
    67. Khushboo Mishra, Child Rights Activist, Delhi
    68. Komal Ganotra, Child Rights Professional
    69. Fr. Koshy, Don Bosco National Forum for the Young at Risk, New Delhi and Child Rights Activist
    70. Kumar Shailabh, Co-director, HAQ: Centre for Child Rights
    71. Kusum Tripathi, SNDT University, Mumbai
    72. Maharukh Adenwalla, Advocate, Child Rights Activist, Mumbai
    73. Maina Bhagat
    74. Manoj Kumar Dash, India Volunteer, Integrated Volunteers Network (IVN),New Delhi
    75. Mausami Bhattacharya, ICSSR Post Doctoral Fellow, Jamia Milia Islamia, New Delhi
    76. Meera Vardhan, Lucknow
    77. Mehrun Siddique, Social Activist
    78. Mira Shiva, Activist
    79. Minoti Bahri -Founder Chairperson Shikshantar School.
    80. Mohammed Siraj, Child Rights Activist and Founder, Panchan
    81. Muthamma B. Devaya, Disability Rights Activist, Bangalore
    82. Nabaneeta Deb Sen, Writer and Scholar, Kolkata
    83. Nachiketa Mittal, Professor and Social Activist
    84. Nalini Kant, Manavi, Ranchi
    85. Nandana Sen, Children’s Book Writer, New York
    86. Nandini Majrekar, Professor, TISS Mumbai
    87. Nandita Pal Choudhary, Crafts Advocate
    88. Nasiruddin, Journalist , Lucknow
    89. Nawlesh Kr Singh, State Convenor, Campaign against Child Labour 90. Nayanika Mahatani, Children’s book writer, London
    91. Neel Mukherjee, writer, London and Boston
    92. Neil Roberts, Child Rights Activist, Chandigarh
    93.Nicole Range lMenezes,Co-Funder LEHER,ChildRightsActivist
    94. Nikhil Kumar, Delhi
    95. Nilanjana Roy, children’s book writer
    96. Nilima Mehta, Professor and Child Rights Specialist
    97. Nimisha Srivastava, Child Rights worker, Delhi
    98. Nitin Wadhwani, Director, NGO Citizens Association for Child Rights (CACR), Mumbai
    99. Niti Saxena, Human Rights Activist and Researcher
    100. Nitya Singh, Activist
    101. Nivedita Jha Shakeel, Writer and Social Activist
    102. eNiyati Singh, Activist
    103. N. Paneer Selvam, Kiruba Welfare Trust, Chennai
    104. Nutin Wadhwani, director, NGO Citizens Association for Child Rights,Mumbai
    105. Padmaja Shaw, Rtd. Professor, Journalism, Osmania University
    106. Papiha Nandy
    107. Paramita Saha, Dancer and Arts Manager, Kolkata
    108. Paro Anand, Children’s Stories Writer
    109. PAROMITA Saha, Dancer and arts Manager Kolkata
    110. Paromita Shastri, Writer and Child Rights Activist
    111. Piali Bhattacharya, women’s rights activist
    112. PK Sharma, Centre Direct
    113. Prabir Basu, SPAN, Kolkata
    114. Pratishtha Singh, Rajasthan
    115. Preeti Agarwal Mehta, Delhi
    116. Preeti Patkar, Prerana, Mumbai and Child Rights Activist
    117. Preeti Singh,Co-Director, HAQ: Centre for Child Rights
    118. Puneeta Roy, The Yuva Ekta Foundation
    119. Radha Mishra, Retd Professor, SNDTWU, Pune
    120. Radhika Menon, Children’s Publisher, Tulika, Chennai
    121. Rafey Hussain, Save the Children
    122. Raja Sen, Film Critic and Children’s Book Writer
    123. Ranjeeta
    124. Ram, Child Psychologist
    125. Ratna Saxena, Independent Researcher and Child Rights Activist
    126. Riyaz
    127. Reena Mohan, film-maker , Delhi
    128. Reshma Singh, AALI, Jharkhand
    129. Robert Dequadros, Social activist
    130. Rosina Ahmed, Doctor
    131. Ruchira Goswami, NUJS, Kolkata
    132. Ruchira Gupta, The Last Girl Apne Aap
    133. Sarfaraz Ahmed Khan
    134. Sadaf Jafar, Founder, Kalrav
    135. Sister Carol, SASVIKA
    136. Sadanand Bag, Human Rights Activist
    137. Saddiq Passah, Child Rights Activist
    138. Sajal Banerjee, Filmmaker
    139. Sandokpam Ranjeeta, Human Rights Alert, Manipur
    140. Father Sebestian
    141. Sanjoy Roy, Founder, Trustee, Salaam Baalak Trust, New Delhi
    142. Father Sonychen Mathew SDB, Chithra Don Bosco
    143. Sister Arpan Carvalho BS. Amrat-Talitha Kum India- The internationalnetwork of consecrated life against trafficking in persons
    144. Satya Gopal Dey, Vikramshila Education Resource Society
    145. Saif Mahmood, Writer and lawyer, Delhi
    146. Seema K Treangpi, Bread for Life Trust, Catholic Bishops’ Conference ofIndia,Office for SC/BC
    147. Samim Sultana, Child Rights Activist
    148. Saira Shah Haleem
    149. Sanghamitra Sen, Scientist, Santa Barbara
    150. Sara Khan, Social Activist
    151. Shantha Sinha, Former Member of National Commission for Protection ofChild Rights (NCPCR) and Child Rights Activist
    152. Sayeda Hameed, Muslim women’s forum, Delhi
    153. Shika Shetty, Child Rights Activist, Bangalore
    154. Shaaz Ahmed
    155. Shahina Javed, Child Rights Activist
    156. Shray Ragi Israni, designer
    157. Shalini Dhawan, Designer
    158. Sreemoyee Sen Ram – Social Worker and Child Rights Professional
    159. Shama Afroze, Child Rights Campaigner
    160. Sister Smita Parmar, Social Activist, Bihar
    161. Shimantini Dhuru, Educationist, Filmmaker
    162. Sister Leena Padam
    163. Shireen Vakil, Child Rights Activist
    164. Siddharth P, Mumbai. Child Rights Activist, Bihar
    165. Sister Jayarani Deepshikha
    166. Siddiqua Parveen, Legal Consultant, WBCPCR
    167. Simantini Dhuru, Educationist, Film Maker
    168. Sneha Dey Roy, Goonj
    169. Sneha Mishra, AAINA, Child Rights Activist, Odisha
    170. Sneha Sharma, Centre for Child Rights, CNLU, Patna
    171. Stalin Padma, Film Maker and Human Rights Activist
    172. Steve Rohan Rocha, Nine is Mine and PRATYeK
    173. Sudeshna Roy, Fimmaker
    174. Sumitra Mishra, Child Rights Activist, Delhi
    175. Sunil Jha, Child Rights Activist
    176. Sr. Sabrina, Loreto Rainbow Homes
    177. Sunita, Social Activist, Bihar
    178. Susmita Chanda, Program Consultant, WBCPCR
    179. Swagata Raha, Legal Researcher
    180. Syeda Hameed, Muslim Women’s Forum, Social Activist Former Memberof Planning Commission and National Women’s Commission
    181. Tannistha Datta, Child Rights Activist
    182. Tavishi Alagh, Film-maker
    183. Tinku Khanna, Apne Aap, Kolkata
    184. T.Martin Sudhakar, people’s action for rural awakening, Andhra Pradesh
    185. Uma Subaramanian, Social Worker and Child Rights Activist
    186. Valay Singh Rai, Author, Child Rights Activist
    187. Varghese Theckanath s.g. Montfort Social Institute
    188. Varunditya Chauhan, digital marketeer, Gwalior
    189. Veenu Kakkar, Independent Development Consultant
    190. Vibhuti Patel, TISS, Mumbai
    191. Victor Raj, Campaign Against Child Labour (CACL)
    192. Vinita Saraf, Ektara
    193. Vinod K Jose, Journalist
    194. Vipin Bhatt, Child Rights Activist
    195. Yasho Vardhan
    196. Zain Awan, Editor (Print and Online), ANI News
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