Pradhyumn Foundation, constituted on the backdrop of the murder of a class II student, by his father Varun Thakur, kick-started ‘Child Safety Baton’ campaign on Saturday to mark the first death anniversary of the departed child and raise security and well-being of children across the nation.
Speaking on the occasion, Barun Chandra Thakur, the Chairman of the Pradhyumn Foundation said, “Before my child was snatched away from us by some cruel hands, whenever I would see any news of child death in mysterious circumstances, be it in educational institution, orphanage, or some other places, I would just react with sympathy for the child, his or her family members with resentment for the situations, circumstances and the people that I supposed, could have triggered the unfortunate incident”. But, when I lost my child, I felt all the sufferings, agony and trauma at first hand. Nothing could be more excruciating than to realize that my son is no more”.
Thanking the people who supported Barun Chandra Thakur, he said, “ I feel overwhelmed by the support that I received from all of you. My friends, My relatives, my neighbours, people from legal fraternity, political leaders, people from almost all quarters were with me, and that was the biggest strength who kept my conviction high, helped me stand against all odds and gave me the courage to do something substantial for the children of our country. I am thankful to my family who spared me for this cause uncomplainingly.”
Speaking on the need of enlightening parents about the child rights, Mr Barun further added, “From the time a school bus takes away our child to school till he is there, it is the responsibility of schools to hand over our child in the condition he was while riding the bus in the morning”. I was also not aware of these facts. Whenever my child would tell me that the school is organizing an excursion trip and he is willing to go on the trip, I was quick to give permission thinking that it is important for my child to go there. I never bothered about checking and ensuing about the security measures that must be there whenever a school organizes an excursion trip. Not only the excursion trip, the security measures need to be followed, rather implemented without any lapses since the time school bus starts for the school taking our children in the bus. Citing an incident he said, “Recently a 4th class student was molested by his seniors in a bus”. This unfortunate incident could take place, as there was no teacher in the bus. Honourable court has clearly stated that teacher and a maid must accompany with the children in a school bus, and if any lapses are found, responsibility can be fixed on the school”.
Enlightening parents present over there, Mr Barun further said, “Way back in the year 2007 Supreme Court had issued direction to the schools. In the guidelines issued to the school administration, it was clearly mentioned that CCTV cameras should be installed in the school premises. But, despite the ruling, even today it cannot be said with absolute certainty that all our schools have CCTVs on their premises.”
We parents do not pay heed to the guidelines issued by the Central Board of Secondary Education to the schools that are there about the safety of our children. We parents need to be informed about our rights regarding the safety of our children in school premises, the Chairman of the Pradhyumn Foundation further added. He further said, “I was also one of them; hardly aware of any guidelines issued to the schools by the CBSE, honourable courts. It was after the incident that I started taking interests about the duties and responsibilities mandated to the schools. Since early this year, I had started toying with the idea of bringing a book on child safety in order to educate the parents of today about their rights to raise their accusing fingers on the school, if and when they find that the school administration is not doing or has not done, what it is obliged to do. I owe my sincere thanks to Dr Birbal Jha, who took pain for writing the book “Child Safery” and making it available to the masses”.
Nailing the school where the unfortunate incident took place, Mr Barun said, “the fact finding mission, on its report, clearly found that there was serious lapses in the implementation of the guidelines issued by CBSE in the school where the heinous crime took place against my child . The situation could have been even more tragic, but by the grace of God, it was averted.”
Throwing light on the mission and vision of the Pradhyumn Foundation, he added, “the very motive of constituting the foundation is to help prevent any Pradhyumn-like incident.
Fortunately, law has given us enough rights, the need of the hour is to know about these and make schools realize about their onus. Our foundation also works for the oppression against our children at any place—be it schools, orphanages or some other places”.
Addressing the august crowd, Dr Birbal Jha, the president of Pradyumn Foundation and the writer of the book Child Safety said, “ I cannot say that Mr Barun Thakur and Sushma Thakur are the fortunate parents, but what I feel proud to say is that they are responsible parents. They have not opted for sufferings for the rest of their lives; they have rather decided to live for a cause, to be a brand ambassador for child safety. They have floated an organization Pradhyumn Foundation which will singularly work for safeguarding our sapalings, the future of the country. It is the children of today who will take the charge tomorrow— they will make policies for our nation, they will be responsible for the safety and security of our country, they will be the face of our India, they will be the think tank of this nation, they will show the path of brotherhood, compassion, the power of benevolence, kindness and humanity to the world. So, thinking about Child Safety is tantamount to thinking about the safety of future India, thinking about their protection is tantamount to protecting our own future.
Speaking about the book Child Safety, Dr Birbal Jha said, “Child Safety is a book which is very thought-provoking, apart from being informative. I have written this book taking into consideration all the aspects concerning and affecting the safety and security of our children.
Speaking on the campaign Child Safety Baton, Dr Jha further said, “the Baton will pass through all of you, every nook and corner of the country, it will go to every state, every chief minister, every governor and in one year from today. it will reach the first citizen of our country—The President of India”. We will urge the Government to Declare the Day as Child Safety Day though we are not asking for any holiday on that day. Our only purpose is to create awareness about the safety, security and well-being of children across the nation”.
Among the dignitaries present at the event included Former Congress MP Mahabal Mishra, JDU General Secretary Sanjay Jha, Sohna MLA Tejpal Tanwar, ADC, Gurugram Manish and Social Activist Bhanu Narayan Jha.
Stressing the need of healthy discussions on various contemporary topics in family, Former Congress MP Mahabal Mishra said, “Mobile phone has taken so many good things that were prevalent on our family. Though I am not undermining the utility of mobile phones, for it is of multiple uses and benefits, but here I am talking about its repercussions on the domestic felicity. You can see entire family sitting together, but texting through their mobiles, talking over phone, searching net over mobile. When family sits together, talks about values, brotherhood and emotions, all these things instill good behavioural attitude in our children”.
The insensitiveness of the people of our society has gone to the nadir. People start making videos through their camera, when they see any one suffering from bodily injury or pain.
“I think a combination of social awareness, political awareness and constant watch on the safety measures taken by the schools can bring the desired result”, former MP added.
Remembering that unfortunate day, Mr Mishra said, “I got a chance to see the bereaved family. I salute the family of Varun for showing exemplary courage and valour and I am ready to extend all kinds of support for the cause the foundation stands for”.
Mr Sanjay Jha, while speaking on the occasion said, “I was shaken to the core when I read about the incident in the newspaper. The first thing that crossed in my mind was that of my own child, who is also a school-going kid. When I visited Barun’s house next day after the incident, I was quite pleasantly surprised to know that Barun Thakur was not there to beat his chest. He had gone to court to seek justice for his charming child. I took stock of the situation and feeling the urgency of the situation, I made the mother of the deceased talk to Mr Nitish Kumar, honourable Chief Minister of Bihar ”.
“I salute Barun and his family for their exemplary valour and I am willing to extend my full cooperation for the foundation”, he added.
Interactive with the spectators, Mr Tejpal, MLA from Sohna, Haryana said, “What happened with the family of Barun was most unfortunate, to say the least. May God prevent all the parents from the agony that his family has to undergo through. In my so many decades of public life, I had not seen an incident of such kind. I am thankful to all the people who came together with the bereaved family and paved the way for the justice of the family. The Chief Minister of Haryana also spoke to the family after the incident took place and promised all kinds of help to win the battle against injustice”.
“I announce a sum of Rs 2 lakh for the foundation”, he further added.
ADC of Gurugram Mr Manish said, “in the society we live in, women cannot be supposed to halt the progression of their career and remain stuck in their homes. In fact, the children of today are not safe even with their relatives, even their female custodians do not show much sensitivity about the safety of children. So, a multi-pronged strategy is something that we need to make if we have to see big positive results on the ground”.
The Schedule of the Program was as follows:Opening Address: Dr Birbal Jha with “Pradyumn Pranam”
One-minute Silence for the Departed Soul
Lirical Tribute: In the forms of song—“Kya Gunah tha Mere Bache Ka”—Sung by Sanjana Priyadarshini
Memento to the Guests
Ghaat—a small play was staged that depicted some of the important events related to the departed child
Child Safety Baton that passed through every person present over there and took to streets.