14 child labourers rescued from Bangalore

14 child labourers rescued from Bangalore

Focusing on the dark underbelly of big cities, NGO Child Rights & You (CRY) rescued 14 children, who were forced to work at street-side pani puri stalls in Bangalore and sent home to Jharkhand.

The initiative is part of a nationwide programme undertaken by the NGO to fight for child rights. While the children came from different parts of Jharkhand, the NGO rescued them from their employers across Bangalore and repatriated them back to Jharkhand’s child & social welfare department in Ranchi. 

The children were trafficked to Bangalore with the lure of a better life, but were made to work at pani puri stands in different parts of the City. Pani puri, known as Golgappa across north India and phuchka in Kolkata, is a popular snack among Indians comprising a ball of dough, filled with spicy morsels and dipped in tangy-sweet tamarind syrup. 

According to CRY officials, the children heaved a sigh of relief only after the Hatia-Yeshwantpur express chugged its way into the crowded Ranchi platform.

CRY officials pointed out that the initiative to rescue them was taken along with Talash, a Bangalore-based NGO, which identified these children in the third week of April and immediately alerted the local child welfare committee (CWC). 

“The rescue of the children was carried out by the CWC in Bangalore and finally the children were handed over to a team of NGOs and the Jharkhand Police.

“CRY, which works in Karnataka along with Talash as one of its many partner organisations, played an instrumental role in coordinating the process of repatriation and rehabilitation of those children, with help of partner organisations in both Karnataka and Jharkhand,” said a senior CRY official. 

Of the 14 boys, nine hail from Koderma district, two each from Giridih and Bokaro districts and one from Chatra district of Jharkhand. 

According to CRY official Abhijit Mukherjee: “All the children come from impoverished families and their parents were conned by a local broker who runs a business in Bangalore.”

The boys were lured with promise of good education and a job but were engaged as workers at a pani puri factory in Bangalore, for two to four years, he said. 

While all the children shared the same story, 12-year-old Guddu (name changed), said he used to work at a pani puri factory at Bhartinagar and used to work as a helper at a roadside pani puri stand. 

“They said they would provide us with a good job but later I found that it was just a pani puri stall where I had to work for 12 to 14 hours a day,” the boy said. 

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