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Help rescued from DDA official's house

Ashpreet Sethi, New Delhi, September 28, 2012, DHNS: 1:25 IST

12-yr-old boy used to do cooking, cleaning

A 12-year-old boy, working as domestic help in east Delhi was rescued on Thursday. He was locked in the house when neighbours informed an NGO.

The rescue team led by sub inspector Sehdev Singh of Pandav Nagar police station and Shakti Vahini NGO activists found the boy hiding under a desk in one of the back bedrooms.

The team members said they had to wait for an hour as the owner had locked the Mayur Vihar, phase 1 house from outside.

During counselling, the child revealed that he was from Bihar and his father had brought him to Delhi against his mother’s wish. The boy said he wants to study in his village.

No cases of cruelty or beating up the child were reported but he mentioned that the woman of the house used to scold him regularly. The boy said his work included making tea, cleaning the house, making rotis, helping with cooking, washing utensils and sometimes washing clothes.

The child was produced before the child welfare committee, Dilshad Garden after the rescue. The committee gave an order which reads: “It was found that the child was not strictly doing the household chores as a typical servant or child labour. The child used to get involved in few domestic activities occasionally.

But he was definitely a helping hand inspite of the fact that the employer had maidservant for domestic work.”

The CWC has imposed a fine of Rs 35,000 calculated at a minimum wage of Rs 7,000 per month for five months.

“In addition to his earned wages a token fine of Rs 2,000 is imposed on the employer for employing the child and that he will not repeat such act,” states the CWC order.

However, NGO representatives are not happy with the order as they had demanded for an FIR against the employer.

“The employer is a Delhi Development Authority official. Moreover, CWC is supposed to cater to child welfare. How can they write that he was an occasional labourer? Since the blanket ban on child labour till the age of 14 years has been implemented, all forms of labour are punishable,” said Rishi Kant from Shakti Vahini.

Kant said he plans to challenge the order in the high court as it is not child-friendly.

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