Activists on rescue mission face factory owners' wrath, 19 kids saved

Factory owners attacked social activists rescuing children working as bonded labourers in central Delhi on Wednesday.

Activists had identified 100 such children but rescued only 19 children from leather and bag stitching factories in Nabi Karim area.

During the raid, certain bags with a Reebok logo were found, though activists believe them to be fake.

The rescue team was led by Mani Bhushan Malhotra, sub-divisional magistrate, Nabi Karim police station, accompanied by the police, members of labour department and NGO activists.

They were prepared to raid six different locations where child labourers had been identified.

However, the employers of the factories started pelting bricks and stones on the cars carrying activists and children, the activists said.

The SDM has directed the police to register FIRs against unidentified persons for obstructing public servants on duty.

“We are identifying the persons who had attacked the civil society workers, following which first information reports (FIRs) would be lodged against them all. We have already arrested four employers and filed FIRs against them,” said Malhotra.

The rescued children were found to be working for Bachpan, a play school.

These children were trafficked from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

They used to stitch leather bags and purses and were paid Rs 30 a week for working up to 16 hours daily.

“The minimum wage per day for unskilled labour in Delhi is Rs 270 for eight hours of work. All children were below 14 years of age, the youngest one being seven-years-old,” said Rakesh Senger, a social activist.

One 11-year-old child was brought to Delhi on the pretext of sightseeing in the Capital but his brother forced him to work in these factories.

“I get Rs 20 every day with which I buy my breakfast,” said the seven-year-old, who was trafficked a year ago.

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