Thursday, July 5, 2007


House of horror for kids- From Bengal, enslaved trio can’t recall address

Two of the children rescued from Delhi. Picture by Shakti Vahini
New Delhi, Nov. 20: Bruises on their bodies and trauma on their faces, the three children stare vacantly out of a dimly-lit room in a Faridabad police station. All from Bengal, they don’t remember their exact addresses, except that their village is somewhere in Midnapore.
Rescued on Saturday from the house of a local businessman, Sujata, 6, Santoshi, 8, and Sita, 12, will be shifted to Nari Niketan, a home for women and kids, in nearby Karnal.
“The medical report hasn’t come in yet, but there is no doubt that these children were subjected to inhuman behaviour,” Mahipal Singh, the officer investigating the case, said.
After being rescued from the businessman’s Indra- prastha Colony home in Faridabad by Shakti Vahini, an NGO, the children were handed over to the local police station.
While Sujata and Santoshi had apparently been kept in the house for “domestic work” for two years, Sita, the oldest among them, had been brought about a year back.
“These are the trafficked children from Bengal. The investigation must go beyond the National Capital Region, right up to Bengal, to ascertain how and by whom, these children were trafficked,” said Jagdip Rawat of Shakti Vahini.
The case not only exposes child labour and cruelty, but also involves bonded labour as these children were kept in illegal confinement and forced to work without wages, Rawat said.
In his statement to the police, the businessman claimed he brought the children from a placement agency for domestic help in Delhi. He said he initially paid their wages to the agency, which, he claimed, stopped contacting him later. He didn’t recall its name or address.
Equally unexplained are the bruises on the bodies of the kids.
In his statement, the businessman said the injuries were caused by infighting among them, but the wounds are far too serious to lend credence to his version. The medical report is expected to throw more light.
Meanwhile, Shakti Vahini has alleged that police are showing leniency to the businessman. “The accused has not yet been arrested. Even the sections that have been levelled against him relate only to the juvenile justice act and the IPC. The laws on prevention of child and bonded labour must also be used against him,” said Rawat.

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