New Delhi, May 4: Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi on Tuesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to immediately declare drought as a “national emergency” in view of the rising numbers of children in rural areas affected and exploited due to drought.
Stating that over 164 million children were affected by the “severe drought situation”, Satyarthi said the drought across 10 states has led to rampant child marriage, child labour, abduction and trafficking of children.
“On May 1, a 12-year-old girl named Madhu and her eight-year-old brother Ashok died of dehydration in Lingam village of Telangana. Their mother, who went to fetch some water, was later found unconscious in the forest with an empty plastic bottle,” Satyarthi said addressing a conference ‘Drought Crisis and Children’ in New Delhi.
He narrated other such ordeals, stating that people from areas under the grip of drought in Telangana, Maharashtra and Karnataka are leaving their children in temples.
“In Latur, Maharashtra, a mother ‘donated’ her daughter to a temple to become devadasi. Parents, with nothing to feed to their children are taking such steps to save their children being forced into prostitution.”
He said that of 336 million people (government figures) affected by the drought, 40 percent are children, that has led to 22 percent school dropouts.