Udaipur : Several boys including four from Saira block of Udaipur, have been freed from forced bonded labour that they had been suffering for years. All the kids are in the age bracket of 12 to 15 years who were treated badly, not given nutritional food to eat and confined in the four walls of the unit where they worked and lived.
The children were rescued through a joint operation of Rajasthan and Maharashtra officials after the intervention of Aajeevika Bureau, a non profit initiative working for the distressed migrant communities. “The rescue operation was held on August 26, however, it may take another four-five days for the kids to reach Udaipur since their release order has been issued on Monday. They would be produced before the local Child Welfare Committee here which would hand them over to their parents” Santosh Poonia, program manager of the organization told Udaipur Kiran.
The matter came to light recently, during a public hearing here, organized as part of the bureau’s helpline. ” A 14 year old boy Rajaram from the Bhil community approached us with his father. He told us that in 2016 he was sent to work with a tiffin center operator who promised his parents that the boy would be taken proper care of, given food and clothing and even salary against the work. ” Poonia said. However, Rajaram among with other kids working at the tiffin center in Kurla area of Mumbai, was treated improperly.
They were made to work hard for 18 hours daily, clean the place, cut vegetables for the tiffins. The children were not allowed to speak to their parents or even permitted to go out of the center. Rajaram’s younger brother Bajaram (12) was also sent to work with him in 2017. When Rajaram fell severely ill due to lack of nutritious food and medical aid the tiffin center operator send him back home to his parents. “The boy was in deep shock and remained in trauma for weeks finally before he could reveal his ordeal “Poonia said. The boy didnt know the address of the tiffin center but only had the mobile number and hence it was difficult to conduct the rescue operation which could have alerted the culprits. Another field executive of Aajeevika Bureau Deepak Paradkar called up the employer claiming that he wanted to avail the tiffin service and visited the unit.
After confirming about the children forced in labour, the local police and district administration held a search and freed the boys.While the team expected to rescue the 12-year old Udaipur boy, they also found six others employed with the tiffin service unit and two other units nearby. ” Four of the kids are from Udaipur while the other three are from UttarPradesh, West Bengal and Jharkhand each. Three men have been booked including the employer Bhanwarlal Parihar under sections of Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act 1976, Juvenile Justice Act and since the Udaipur boys hail from tribal community, sections under Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act too would be imposed on the accused men” Poonia informed.