MUMBAI: Against the backdrop of a nationwide outrage caused by the alleged rape and killing of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua, veteran actor Shabana Azmi has said that "our betis (daughters) should be alive and safe" for the "Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao" campaign to be effective.
Recently, several Bollywood celebrities had joined a protest to demand justice for the victims of the Kathua and Unnao rape cases that have generated a groundswell of anger against the perpetrators.
"On one hand, we see our women who have reached great heights and have become great leaders. But on the other hand, on a daily basis, we read and watch such news that we are left speechless," Azmi told reporters on the sidelines of the 20th Beti FLO GR8 Awards 2018 function held here last night.
"It is our responsibility to unite and ensure that these incidents do not happen because we say 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao' which should happen, but for that, it is important that our betis (daughters) should be alive too," she said.
"Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao" (save girl child, educate a girl child) is a social campaign of the Union government that aims to generate awareness and improve the efficiency of welfare services intended for girls.
Azmi further said the people should make it a point that such incidents do not recur in the country.
"Today, we must also remember girls, who have had a very unfortunate existence...It is very important for us to come together and say, 'this must not happen.' This cannot happen in our country. This country will change, it is a beautiful country if we all come together," she said.
In Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir, an eight-year-old child from a minority nomadic community was allegedly held in captivity in a small village temple for a week in January this year during which she was kept sedated and sexually assaulted before being bludgeoned to death.
Eight persons, including a juvenile, were arrested in the case.
The trial in the case began yesterday.
In Uttar Pradesh's Unnao, a teenage girl alleged that she was raped by a ruling BJP MLA who has been arrested by the CBI, which is probing the case.