Indian peace laureate to 'join hands' with Pakistan's Malala

Fri Oct 10, 2014 9:27am EDT
 
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By Krista Mahr

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's Kailash Satyarthi dedicated the Nobel Peace Prize that he shared on Friday to children in slavery, pledging to "join hands" with fellow laureate Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan as their two countries fought over the territory of Kashmir.

The 60-year-old children's rights campaigner was recognized for his battle against child trafficking with Bachpan Bachao Andolan - or Save the Childhood Movement - a group he founded in 1980 after quitting his job as an electrical engineer.

"It's a great statement from the Nobel committee, looking at the present scenario in India and Pakistan," Satyarthi told reporters who besieged his office in New Delhi after the prize was announced in Oslo.

"Beside our fight against child slavery and against the menace of illiteracy on the subcontinent and globally, we hope both of us will be able to fight for peace," he said referring to Malala, a campaigner for girls' education rights who, at the age of 17, became the youngest Nobel Prize winner ever.

"I will talk to Malala soon. I know her, and I will invite her to join hands to establish peace for our subcontinent - which is a must for children, which is a must for every Indian, for every Pakistani, for every citizen of the world."

India and Pakistan have engaged in heavy shelling across the frontier of the disputed territory of Kashmir for more than a week, killing nine Pakistani and eight Indian civilians in the worst violence in more than a decade.

The conflict, along a 200-km (125-mile) frontier stretch, has raised fears of escalation between the nuclear-armed rivals, which have fought two of their three wars over the mainly Muslim region since partition and independence in 1947.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has taken a tough line on Pakistan since his general election victory in May, congratulated Satyarthi.   Continued...