For children of a lesser god, it's about abuse, slavery

New Delhi, June 11 (IANS) Being forced to sit like a hen for hours or getting thrashed for being slow at work. Or being starved as punishment and not given enought to eat. This is not a throwback to a 17th century slave plantation but an instance of the modern day travails of children in India as young as eight who work in the numerous manufacturing and handicraft units, small-time eateries and factories in and around the capital.

Eight-year old Aman, who was recently rescued from a zari embroidery unit, says that the punishments meted out in these factories are severe.

"I was brought to Delhi from Nepal by an uncle in my village. My parents were told I will have a better life in India and I will be sent to a good school to learn the art of zari embroidery. Coming here, I was made to work in a zari unit from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., was given food twice a day, without being allowed to go out of the building," Aman told IANS.

His tale is similar to Satvik's horrific ordeal. His employer would make him sit like a hen and cane him for being slow in his work as an embroiderer.

According to the 2001 census, there were officially 12.9 million child labourers in India, though child rights activists say the figure is much higher. The figure for Delhi was 41,899, but civil society and NGOs like Save the Children estimate it about 50,000 to 200,000.

Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), an NGO working for children, said a large number of children are trafficked from poor and underdeveloped states like Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh to cities like Delhi and Mumbai and made to work in various industries for paltry wages.

BBA conducted 164 raids across India from January 2012 till June 6 and rescued 1,742 child labourers. In Delhi alone, it conducted 78 raids and liberated 1,049 bonded labourers. Almost 90 percent of the rescued children spoke of physical and sexual abuse at the hands of their employers.

"Most of them are weak, look starved, have scars on their bodies and are emotionally traumatised. To keep them awake, certain employers play popular Bollywood and Bhojpuri songs," Preeti Sharma, a volunteer, told IANS.

Narrating his story, Rizwan, a rescued boy, said: "I was brought to Delhi in the name of better livelihood opportunities. I was told that in Delhi I can study and earn as well. But here I was made to work for 16 hours a day and was given Rs.200 a week. Once the supervisor hit me so hard that from then on my vision is blurred."

Similar are the stories of 13-year-old Ranjan and 10-year-old Manu, who toil away cleaning dirty dishes at small eateries in a cramped street in Chandni Chowk in old Delhi from dawn to dusk.

"It is back-breaking work but I have no choice but to work in a dhaba to earn some money to help my mother run the house, with three other siblings to feed. My father died in a road accident three years ago," Ranjan told IANS.

Social activists say that in the capital alone more than 2,000 placement agencies are operating, of which only 24 are registered with the government.

"It is known to everybody that most of the placement agencies working here are functioning illegally. Every now and then, we rescue children, particularly girls who are brought to work as maids from poverty-stricken states," BBA chariperson R.S Chaurasia told IANS.

"A political will and stringent laws are needed to curb such activities," Chaurasia added.

A senior government official said the home ministry will soon bring a stringent law against such placement agencies.

"The Home Ministry will soon come out with a stringent law against such placement agencies that are responsible for the booming child bonded labour industry in the country," a senior official told IANS, pleading anonymity.

Child right activists say that there are many laws, for example, The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986, but there is a clear lack of execution by authorities, the bane of most laws in the country.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Bangalore lose nerve, lose game

Bangalore lose nerve, lose game

IPL 7, GAME 11—Vinay's over, Lynn's catch turns last-over finish in KKR's favour. More »

Boycotting IPL will not save cricket

Boycotting IPL will not save cricket

Boycotting the IPL as a means of protest against the grime in the game may not yield the desired results. More »

Jadeja spins out Rajasthan in close chase

Jadeja spins out Rajasthan in close chase

IPL 7, GAME 10—Chennai beat Rajasthan by 7 runs after last-over scare. More »

Gambhir a knock away from striking form - KKR coach

Gambhir a knock away from striking form - KKR coach

Gautam made an eight-ball duck in the opening game against Mumbai and in the second game against Delhi, he lasted only half those balls. More »

Rivals say Srini group delaying BCCI special general meeting

Rivals say Srini group delaying BCCI special general meeting

The group opposed to Srinivasan alleged that since BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel belongs to the president’s group, he was intentionally delaying the SGM… More »

April 24: A legend is born

As Sachin Tendulkar turns 41 - here's a look at some offbeat moments from the Master Blaster's innings. More »

Cleaning up the game starts with fans

Cleaning up the game starts with fans

... because, as recent events reveal, the BCCI has little intention of doing it. More »

SL in 'difficult place' after Farbrace exit

SL in 'difficult place' after Farbrace exit

Sri Lanka depart for assignments in Ireland and England in two weeks, and Sanath Jayasuriya suggested Marvan Atapattu would be interim head coach for those… More »

Chandimal axed as T20 captain

Chandimal axed as T20 captain

Sri Lanka's cricket selectors on Wednesday sacked Dinesh Chandimal as Twenty20 captain and replaced him with Lasith Malinga, while Angelo Mathews was… More »

Vithanage, Priyanjan get T20 call-ups

Vithanage, Priyanjan get T20 call-ups

Herath has been rested, while the team will be without the veteran pair of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, who retired from T20 internationals… More »

'BCCI should have picked panel with care'

'BCCI should have picked panel with care'

Dalmiya said that it was the first time that the BCCI had been faced with a situation where the apex court had hauled up the Board and it should have acted… More »

Farbrace is England's assistant coach

Farbrace is England's assistant coach

The ECB continued the restructuring of the England coaching set-up on Wednesday by announcing the appointment of Paul Farbrace as assistant coach. More »

SC asks Mudgal committee to continue

SC asks Mudgal committee to continue

Mukul Mudgal has communicated to the court his willingness to take up the investigation and has been asked to specify the terms and modalities on April… More »

Sri Lanka players resolve pay dispute

Sri Lanka players resolve pay dispute

The pay dispute between Sri Lanka Cricket and its 13 contracted players ended on Wednesday when the latter agreed to accept 10 percent of the participation… More »

Hope to be fit for next game - Pietersen

Hope to be fit for next game - Pietersen

With two heavy defeats at the hands of Bangalore and Chennai, Daredevils currently languish near the bottom of the table. More »

'SC decision could hurt BCCI's status'

'SC decision could hurt BCCI's status'

The Supreme Court prefers that the Justice Mudgal panel further investigate the IPL corruption scandal. More »

Mudgal panel drops bombshell in court

Mudgal panel drops bombshell in court

The Mukul Mudgal probe committee dropped a bombshell in the Supreme Court on Tuesday by making a sensational claim that it was forced to stop audio recording… More »

Perfect Punjab trounce Hyderabad

Perfect Punjab trounce Hyderabad

IPL7, GAME 9—Maxwell (95, 43b), Balaji (4-13) set up 72-run win. More »

Have the ECB played an unfair game?

Have the ECB played an unfair game?

Money talks, but it is in light of this ICC shakeup that the ECB's act of soliciting of another team's coach deteriorates from free-market aggression to… More »

Farbrace quits for England post

Farbrace quits for England post

He will assist Peter Moores who was unveiled as the new England coach on Saturday. More »

Moin appointed to manage Pakistan team

Moin appointed to manage Pakistan team

Pakistan on Monday reappointed Moin Khan as chief selector and manager of the national team, a week after fellow former captain Rashid Latif turned down… More »

Chennai smash Delhi for first win

Chennai smash Delhi for first win

IPL7, MATCH 8—Raina-led middle order, superlative catching give CSK a 93-run win. More »

'BCCI reputation lowest in 80 years'

'BCCI reputation lowest in 80 years'

The former BCCI president says he was "disillusioned" by the happenings at the emergent working committee meeting on Sunday. More »

Injured Bravo to miss rest of IPL

Injured Bravo to miss rest of IPL

Dwayne Bravo is set to be sidelined for at least four weeks due to a shoulder problem. Bravo sustained the injury when attempting a catch on the boundary… More »