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Leaders from Maharashtra pledge support to ‘Rape Free India’ campaign

Prominent leaders such as Nitin Gadkari, Hansraj Ahir, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Supriya Sule are among the 68 politicians who have pledged for this campaign

pune Updated: May 16, 2019 19:01 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,Maharashtra,Rape Free India
The awareness drive has garnered 450 pledges from leaders across party lines.(PICTURE FOR REPRESENTATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY)

‘Rape Free India’ campaign, started by Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation on April 6 across the country, has garnered support from 68 politicians and Ashmant Foundation, Non-governmental organisation partner from Solapur, Maharashtra over the past one month, said OmPrakash, director, Satyarthi Children’s Foundation, at a press conference in the city on Tuesday.

Prominent leaders such as Nitin Gadkari, Hansraj Ahir, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Supriya Sule are among the 68 politicians who have pledged for this campaign.

“Leaders from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Janata Dal (United) (JDU) from Maharashtra have pledged for this campaign. The campaign aims at prioritising safety of children and women in the election agenda and has witnessed commitment from Lok Sabha candidates.The awareness drive has garnered 450 pledges from leaders across party lines. In Maharashtra too, we have reached to all across political parties,” said OmPrakash.

“We demand these leaders to raise this issue in the Parliament and strive to make sure that the government formulates a budgeted action plan to make India rape free. Also, we have demanded for allocation of 10 per cent of the country’s budget towards improving safety of women and children. We have also appealed to party presidents to suspend any person accused of a sex crime from the political party amid pending investigation” he added.

“The campaign ‘Rape Free India’ initiated on April 6 in Patna and has conducted 14 public dialogues so far in Patna, Raipur, Vijayawada, Hyderabad, Bhubaneshwar, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Trichy, Jhansi, Pune, Jaipur, Lucknow, Bhopal and Ranchi. As the campaign picks up pace, political leaders, youth, corporates, women’s groups, grassroots NGOs, and civil society organisations are joining it. A state-level workshop for NGO volunteers was held in Pune on April 30 and now these volunteers are working for this campaign in their respective districts,” said Hanumant Banbole, president of Ashamant Foundation from Solapur.

Crime against children in Maharashtra has shown a growing trend with an increase of 321% in the last five years. In 2016, 14,559 cases of crimes against children were reported under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Protection of Children against Sexual Offences (POCSO). Of all the registered crimes against children across the country in 2016, about 14% were from Maharashtra. The state stands at second position, after Uttar Pradesh in terms of per cent share of the total incidences of crimes against children registered during 2016 in the country.

First Published: May 15, 2019 16:43 IST