11 child labourers in safe hands, more raids soon

3 kids rescued from court complex, 8 from factory

Eleven child labourers were rescued from the Delhi on Friday. Three of them were working right under the nose of law in Karkardooma court complex. 

The rescue at the court complex comes into effect after the High Court issued suo motu writ petition on instances of child labour in and around various court complexes in Delhi in late 2011. In January 2012, Delhi Labour Department submitted a report before the High Court claiming that only two children had been identified working in and around the court complexes. 

Taking up the report with the Chief Justice, the High Court informed the labour secretary about its doubts on it.

Subsequently, the court had asked Bhuwan Ribhu, a Delhi-based activist to assist the labour department in the process of identification and release of child labourers. The court further directed all district judges to assist in rescuing  of child labourers. 

The rescue operation at the court complex was led by Usha Chaturvedi, sub-district magistrate from Farsh Bazaar police station in Vivek Vihar, officials from the labour department and activists of Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), a child rights group. 

“Two children were rescued from a tea stall within the premises of the court while one was rescued from an automobile repair shop outside the court. We have arrested one employer too,” said Chaturvedi.

The rescued children belonged to the age group of 12-14 years and used to work for more than 10 hours per day. Their relatives had trafficked them from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, promising a good fortune. 

“A fine of Rs 20,000 has been recovered from the employer of the automobile repair shop. We got information about more children but we could only rescue three. We will organise a raid again,” said Rakesh Senger, member BBA. 

More kids rescued In another instance, eight child labourers were rescued from a cottage factory in Chandni Mahal area of central Delhi and two employers were arrested. 

A case has been registered against Mohammad Mustkim, 21, and Abdul Raqeeb, 45, at Chandni Mahal police station. “The children were rescued when a patrolling team noticed some children shouting in a house.

“When checked, it was revealed that eight children were engaged in making bangles,” said Devesh Chandra Srivastva, additional commissioner of police (central).

Mustkim and Raqeeb face charges under sections 23 and 26 of the Juvenile Justice Act and 374 of the Indian Penal Code (unlawful compulsory labour).

On questioning, the children said they were working at cottage factory for the past four months and their employers made them work for at least 12 hours a day. 

“They also disclosed that no permanent salary was fixed by the owner. The factory owners were questioned by the patrolling staff, but they could not give any satisfactory reply about the juveniles being employed by them,” Srivastva added.

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