Even as the police announce results of their slow action and absolutely no movement from the political establishment, a group of children have written to President Pranab Mukherjee demanding stringent punishment for the culprits involved in the gangrape of girl in a moving bus last Sunday.
The Delhi Child Rights Club letter-petition has been signed by 6000 children.
The text of the letter sent to the President:
We, members of Delhi Child Rights Club (DCRC), held a meeting at the Indian Social Institute, Lodi Road, New Delhi on the 20th of December 2012, to discuss our feelings and experiences of being abused every day. This meeting we had as we were all disturbed about what had happened to the 23-year-old didi and her friend on the night of 16th December 2012.
We are scared and feel unsafe. It brought to our mind of the numerous incidents when we as children have also been verbally and some have been physically abused by very bad men. At our meeting, we discussed about our own and our friends' experiences, why does it happen and what should we do to stop it. This letter of ours has been signed and agreed by 6000 children and didi, bhaiya representing 15 different Delhi based child rights organisations who are part of our Delhi Child Rights Club (DCRC). DCRC is our manch, a children's only manch.
At our meeting, we were told by our Bhaiya and Didi that this incident is only one of the 631 reported cases of rape against young girls and women in the city of Delhi in 2012. These kind of bad acts are also done to boys. We hope you and the government will take a strong step to punish these bad men. We children would like to tell you that since we are angry we will want these men to be hanged but we think that will be an easy solution.
The men will not repent, feel bad and sorry for what they have done to Didi who has been tortured and will have to live with this pain and fear all her life. She may have bad dreams at night; she will not be able to forget this for a very long time. These bad men must be put in jail and locked in rooms all their lives till they die. Then they will everyday have to live with the shame of what they did to a girl it will torture them all their lives.
We would like you to remember Nithari cases were so many children were sexually and physically abused and murdered. Bhaiyya and Didi of our organisation told us of the 24,000 reported cases of Rape in India and also told us an alarming 10% of the victims are girls below the age of 14. In the Nithari case, it took more than 3 years for the court to decide the punishment and the bad man was sentenced to death. We do not agree to a death sentence, we recommend such men should stay in a single cell all their life for the crime they have done.
Some of us have participated in the self defence course organised by Government of Delhi and we are very thankful for this opportunity, but please do tell us can any person protect herself/himself against a group or a gang of bad men.
We would like to say that when a child is born he/she is not a criminal. As they grow, they watch and listen to what elders in the family set as an example. If there is violence in the family, children learn violence. It is important that parent's should give good values to their children. Teach them to respect girls, women and persons who are weak. Fathers must treat our mothers and daughters with respect and care. Brothers must respect our mother and us...sisters. They should not use abusive language. Parents must punish their sons if they verbally abuse a girl, it could be his sister, neighbour, peer or stranger.
Parents should not defend or protect their sons for their bad behaviour towards girls and women. Community should not allow boys to behave in such disrespectful and bad manner. As girls, we cannot walk down a street without some boy or man passing very bad remarks. We feel so humiliated. All crowded places must have enough of policemen to patrol the crowd. We also would like all lanes and streets to be brightly lit and lonely patches of roads, streets to be patrolled by policemen. There must be public transport in less frequented routes more often and till late in the night.
If the parents do not take action against the boy, the community should take action against the boy or man and defend and also protect the girl and her family from such hooligans. They should be scolded and punished. Schools must also teach good values. If they find a boy behaving badly, he must be punished but if he is violent and aggressive in behaviour, he should be taken to a hospital and treated by doctors who treat people who have mental illness.
We children think that, as a society, all of us have to take responsibility that no girl or woman and even boy should ever undergo such torture. We also think TV serials and movies that show such violence against girls and women should be immediately stopped and the producers of such TV serials should be punished. It shows men and boys treating girls and women with no respect. We also would like that all pornographic magazines must be banned and publishers and sellers of these magazines should be punished. We also would like a ban on internet games that promote violence. It gives ideas to boys and men to treat girls and women in a disrespectful manner and abuse them. It also teaches boys and girls to believe and accept that girls must not be given freedom to be herself and she should always be indoors.
Respected Rashtrapatiji, we hope you will read this letter and hear our plea as you have the power to do something that will make us feel safe in this city. We children want to live in a place where there is respect and dignity for everyone. Those adults who do not live by the rules must be punished without delay. This letter has been translated by didi and bhaiya.
-- Members of Delhi Child Rights Club