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Home / India News / 2007 / May 2007 / May 20, 2007
Around 100 child labourers rescued in Delhi
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Around 100 child labourers rescued in Delhi

Delhi Police have rescued around 100 suspected child labourers after raiding gold polishing units at Karol Bagh area of the Capital.

New Delhi, May 20 : Delhi Police have rescued around 100 suspected child labourers after raiding gold polishing units at Karol Bagh area of the Capital.

The raids were carried out on complaints filed by an NGO that owners of the polishing units were employing children below 14 years, trafficked from villages in West Bengal.

However, Kartik Bhowmick, owner of one of the polishing units, said the children were not 'workers.'

"I get these children here not to make them work, but to make them learn the craft. They come from extremely poor families where they are starved for morsels to eat. And, I do not bring them forcibly. It is their families that send them. It is only between ages 14 and 18 years that one can learn the craft. Making jewellery is not easy," Kartik said yesterday.

Bhowmick further claimed that he provided children with food and clothing, and gave them money every time they wanted to visit their hometown.

Officials said culprits would be brought to book.

"We will lodge cases now and investigate them further. We will send children from other states to their homes. The offenders-parents, employers and contractors will be booked under the Child Labour Abolition Act and other relevant provisions of the law," said S.C. Gupta, Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Karol Bagh.

Gupta also said the children's families, who cannot afford food and education for their children sending them to work due to utter poverty, would be given 25,000 rupees as incentive against sending them away on such chores again.

Many of the rescued children visibly shocked and scared by the commotion and sight of policemen. They had to be coaxed and cajoled to come along.

"I am from West Bengal. I do gold jewellery work here. I have been working here for three months. I do not get paid," said Ayon, one of the labourers.

A recent legislation banned employing children under the age of 14 at roadside food stalls or as domestic helps.

The new ban provided legal protection to millions of children working as labourers. Anyone found violating the law could face up to two years' jail and a maximum fine of 20,000 rupees or both.

According to the Central Labour Ministry, there are 12 million children under 14 years of age working in India-- the largest such group in the world.

Data released by the Central Government late last year indicated the largest number of working children in the country was in Uttar Pradesh with a figure of 19.27 lakh.

Andhra Pradesh has the second largest working children population, followed by Rajasthan and Bihar.


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