Child Abuse

Meghdeep Patnaik

People in India believe that children are pure in flesh and heart. They have no vices and are epitomes of innocence. Yet, India experiences child abuse in dominance.

Child abuse is the torture and extreme conditions that children below the age of 14 are subjected to. It can be sexual, physical or mental.

Beginning from rapes to employment of minors in factories and industries, India has seen it all. Despite the strings of laws proposed to alleviate child abuse, none of them have been implemented successfully. Children are still put through extreme working conditions in factories. Every year the number of sexual abuse cases reported, that involve minors, goes up. Underage children are the easiest targets for human traffickers and these human traffickers, compel children to beg, get into sex trade or become pick-pockets. While considerable number of awareness drives have been organised to put a stop to crimes like this, all efforts have gone in vain. There are at least 7 laws and initiatives to alleviate child abuse :
1.    Gurupadswamy Committee in 1979; to identify and curb child labour issues.
2.   The Child Labour Prohibition and Regulator Act in 1986.
3.   National Policy on Child Labour in 1987; for rehabilitating children working under hazardous conditions.
4.   100 industry-specific National Child Labour Projects have been implemented since 1988 for rehabilitation of child workers.
5.   NGOs like Bachpan Bachao Andolan, CARE India, Child Rights and You, RIDE India, Childline etc.
6.  Juvenile Justice Act.
7.   Protection of Children from Sexual Abuses Act.

Despite all these laws and initiatives, child abuse is on the rise.

India became an independent nation in 1947; however India is yet to become intimate with independence. How can a country that lets the innocent cloaks of children be stripped off be independent? How can a country that is incapable of taking a stand for its future citizens be independent? Child abuse scars the lives of the children, for eternity. It is impossible to bring them back to normal once they have been subjected to brutality. Only introspection can motivate concerned people to come together and fight back. A change can be initiated only if persons opposing child abuse are strong-willed.

Vol. 49, No.12, Sep 25 - Oct 1, 2016