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NGOs join hands to pressure parties on children’s rights

Neelam Pandey, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, November 02, 2013
First Published: 01:37 IST(2/11/2013) | Last Updated: 00:31 IST(3/11/2013)

This election season, political leaders are making promises on almost all issues affecting the society but are woefully silent on its future — the children.

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Crimes involving children, including rape and kidnapping, are on the rise in Delhi. But since they do not vote, politicians find it convenient to skirt the problems in their campaign speeches and promises.

A group of non-governmental organisations have now joined hands to form the Delhi Child Rights Group to raise the concerns of children with political parties, including the ruling Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

Both the BJP and the Congress are in the process of finalising their manifestos. They will be released on the filing of nomination starts.

“We have spoken to AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal and met Dr Harsh Vardhan, the BJP’s candidate for chief minister,” Raj Mangal Prasad, the director of NGO Pratidhi and a member of the group, said. “Our members have even submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.”

“The leaders have assured us that they will include child right issues in their manifestos,” Prasad added.

The group was prompted to stress the issue of child rights after a spurt in number of sexual and physical abuse cases involving children. Over 50 per cent of sexual assault victims are children, says a Delhi Police report.

The group had launched a public awareness campaign on sexual violence against children across the city and prepared a memorandum that had been signed by 40,000 people.

Dr Vardhan said his party was committed to the protection of children’s rights and ensuring developmental programmes for them. “We want to protect and promote the rights of children,” he said.

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