Don't employ children: Gursharan

Individuals need to come forward and report about child abuse as it is difficult for the government and rights groups to tackle the issue alone, said Gursharan Kaur, wife of the Prime Minister, at a national summit to ban all forms of child labour held in Delhi on Saturday.

“We have to wake up. We have to make sure that no one employs children,” said Kaur at this summit organised by Save The Children. She added that it is unfortunate to know that over 40 million children are working as labourers across India. “This is mainly because of poverty which needs to be addressed,” she said.

Shanta Sinha, chairperson of nNational Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) said that many urban families believe they were doing children a favour by hiring them as domestic help.

“However, they are not doing any favour to the child as the child is captive and entrapped in that home,” she said.

Children who were working as labourers shared their previous experience. Arjun, 14, who is now studying in class 9, used to plough fields where he was exposed to pesticides and would skip lunch to complete the work.

Many are abused

Ranjita, a 15-year-old girl who had worked as a domestic help in Bangalore was physically tortured. She somehow gathered courage to call her village and was rescued by some activists.

“My father was a drunkard and my mother used to run the house with whatever she could earn but even I had to begin working to support my family,” she said.

Children expressed their unhappiness over parents’ pressure towards making them work at an early age.

“We want to study like other children do. We want better lives,” a child said.

Actor Farooq Sheikh expressed his concern over the country not doing enough
towards eradicating child labour. “India’s problems are varied and vast but why do we need to remind and be reminded of child rights? We are
referring to the future of
the country and we have no right to play with their lives,” he said.

Bhuvan Ribhu, advocate and activist added that the Child Labour Prohibition Act should include education as an elementary part of the act to ensure their safety.
Children presented a memorandum to Shanta Sinha asking her to ensure that all
villages have schools and playgrounds for a better future
for children from financially weaker backgrounds.

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