Guwahati youth come out in an open discussion on recent incidents of rape

Guwahati, April 26: There has been a nationwide outrage due to the recent cases of rape and violence committed against children in the country. These events have led to an out pour of social media protests; people have taken to the streets in many parts of the country to voice their concerns. Asifa Bano, an eight-year-old girl was allegedly raped by eight men and murdered in the Kathua district of Kashmir. In Assam, a 12-year-old was gang raped and set afire by three youths in the district of Nagaon. These are only two of such cases that have caused a countrywide shock.

According to the latest data available, in 2016, India recorded 106 rapes a day and four out of every ten victims were minors.

The “Crime in India 2016” report by National Crimes Records Bureau (NCRB) showed that in the year 2016, a total of 38,947 cases of rape were registered in the country under POCSO as well as Section 376 and other related sections of the Indian Penal Code.

Against this backdrop, Ujjeevit Foundation, a youth led organisation based in Guwahati organised an open ended discussion titled To act or let it be? on the April 17.

The primary objective of the discussion was to get everyone on a common platform where they could express their angst and also channelise their thoughts in the right direction to try and bring about positive change in the matter.

During the course of the discussion, renowned women’s right activist and social entrepreneur Supriya Khound said “This is a systemic failure,  a huge systemic failure, in a country  where you are feeling unsafe. The first time I felt emancipated as a person was the first time I could  walk in a street by myself in the middle  of the night and I felt safe; this was in Vietnam. I felt safe, that was the first time I could actually feel freedom. How many of us can walk in the middle  of the night in a normal street in India and say you are feeling  safe? We have failed miserably. Unfortunately, I, as a generation before you, have failed you, the generations before me have failed me. That is why the responsibility falls on my head too. I can’t keep blaming the politicians or anybody, as citizens what are we doing for this? How are we contributing?”

The discussion led to a number of people coming together of contrasting age groups to express their grievances. “We will submit a memorandum to the Chief Minister of Assam demanding speedy justice for the victims and exemplary punishment for the culprits” said Rahul Dutta, founder of the organisation said.

After the gathering, the attendees lit candles to pray for the departed souls. The foundation also announced their initiative of coming up with a module (which they are currently working on), which will be introduced in schools to help children learn sensitive but crucial issues.

“The module will contain topics such as juvenile delinquency, comprehensive sex education and mental health. We would want concerned individuals to come up and contribute in any way possible. We want this to be a community driven initiative” said Rashmika Das, a member of the organisation.

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