Ex-MLA, councillor fight child rescue team

17 child labourers, forced to work 12 hours every day, rescued from Aman Vihar

Seventeen children working as child labourers in bakeries were rescued from Aman Vihar, Sultanpuri area in outer Delhi on Wednesday.

But the rescue team had to fight a crowd of 400 people, including a former MLA of the area, who tried to disrupt the rescue operation.

“The ex-MLA from BJP was also there trying to prevent us from taking away these children. Before he arrived he had sent a car full of goons to scare us. We received information that there is a bakery inside the office of the MLA and he has employed many children as labourers,” asked Varun Pathak, city coordinator of Childline, a 24-hour emergency outreach service for children.

“We could not rescue them as by the time we reached there, the children were taken away to another place. If lawmakers break the rule how will we be able to provide a secure future to children?” asked Pathak.

The team managed to rescue 17 children from other bakery shops around the area and put them in a car for safety.

The team had to call for additional police officers to control the crowd trying to force open the door of the car carrying the rescued children.

“A councillor of the area started arguing with us. He said the children will not survive if they do not work. It was difficult to control the crowd so we had to call for additional help.

But the rescue operation was successful,” said Ajay Kumar, sub divisional magistrate of Saraswati Vihar.

Nearly 40 policemen were involved in controlling the crowd.

The rescue operation was led by the sub divisional magistrate, accompanied by deputy labour commissioner of the area and Childline representatives. The children belong to the age group of 12 to 17 years.

‘No salary’

Fifteen children belonged to Bijnor and Sarangpur in Uttar Pradesh, one child is from Jharkhand and one from Delhi. “They were forced to work for more than 12 hours every day without a salary,” added Pathak.

Around 12 bakeries were raided and seven employers arrested.

“We will file a complaint against the ex-MLA and the councillor as a lesson for people who might try to interfere in our rescue operations,” said Pathak.

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