Satyarthi and Malala, their Nobel for Christian children in Kandhamal
Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Kailash Satyarthi, who won this year's Nobel Peace laureate along with the young Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai, should use such recognition "to seek justice for the Christian children of Kandhamal, who six years after the 2008 pogroms continue to suffer unspeakable pain," said Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), who spoke to AsiaNews about the anti-child labour activist who has been fighting child exploitation since the 1990s in the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi.
Malala and Satyarthi were rewarded for their "struggle against the repression of children and young people and for the rights of all children to education." At the same time, the Norwegian Committee stressed the fact that the Nobel Prize for Peace was assigned to a Muslim Pakistani and a Hindu Indian, a token of symbolic reconciliation between Islamabad and Delhi, in opposition to all forms of extremism.
For this reason, "we should not forget," Sajan George told AsiaNews, "the 10,000 children in Kandhamal who were forced to leave school following anti-Christian pogrom in 2008. Even Naveen Patnaik, chief minister of the state, admitted that the attacks were carried out by Sangh Parivar, a radical Hindu. Violence has had a catastrophic effect on the younger generations. The governments of India and Odisha must ensure their rehabilitation."
Lenin Raghuvanshi (pictured with the Nobel laureate, centre), an activist for the rights of Dalits and president of the People's Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR), told AsiaNews that Satyarthi is as "a true friend of children."
The two have known each other for a long time because Raghuvanshi was - along with the Nobel Peace Prize - one of the founders of the Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save childhood) movement.
"I remember in a special way what was done in Varanasi-Bhadohi-Mirzapur, an area famous for carpet making but also for child exploitation," Raghuvanshi told AsiaNews. "He (Satyarthi) launched Rugmark, a label that guarantees that the product was not made using child labour."