DEVESH PANDEY IN THE HINDU
Child Welfare Committee issues directions for registration of case
In yet another case of blatant violation of child rights, a 12-year-old boy employed four years ago by a family was allegedly being beaten up for no fault of his and made to work for almost 15 hours a day. Unable to bear the torture any longer, the boy ran away over the weekend and approached the police through a Good Samaritan, following which he was produced before a Child Welfare Committee that has issued directions for registration of a case against the accused person(s).
The boy belongs to a poverty-stricken family from a village in Uttar Pradesh where his mother lives with a brother and two sisters. Owing to their poor economic condition, his mother could not afford his studies and he never went to school. At the age of eight, the boy’s mother sent him to the Capital along with her brother hoping that he would make some money.
He was employed by the wife of a businessman living in Vasant Kunj where he had been working for the past four years. In a statement to his counsellor, the child narrated his woes alleging that he was made to do all kinds of household work, including dusting, cleaning and washing clothes from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. His main work was to iron clothes. Although the employer provided him enough food, she would allegedly beat him up to make him “understand” how to do his work. Even when she would get late for preparing breakfast for her son, she allegedly directed all the ire at him.
The boy had no idea how much he was getting as salary, as his wages would be collected directly by his maternal uncle. He complained that his employer never allowed him to talk to his mother over the phone. When things became unbearable, the child quietly moved out of the house on March 31 and approached a driver residing nearby, whom he knew. He shared his plight with the driver, who then took him to a woman living in Mahipalpur. She then lodged a complaint with the police, which produced him before the Lajpat Nagar CWC.
The boy was taken back to his employer’s place where he refused to stay and rather expressed the desire to be reunited with his mother.
Noting that the child had been treated in a cruel manner and that his employer would hit him and shout at him all the time, the Committee chaired by Raaj Mangal Prasad issued directions to the case investigating officer to registered a First Information Report against the accused person (s) on the basis of the victim’s statement, under the relevant provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act and the Indian Penal Code.
The victim’s statement would also be recorded by the area Sub-Divisional Magistrate under the provisions of the Bonded Labour Act and include its provisions if the SDM issues any such directions. The police have also been directed to trace the boy’s maternal uncle and brother and produce them before the Committee, inform his mother and if possible, facilitate her travel to Delhi.
The investigating officer has also been directed to submit a detailed action taken report and sent the child to a care home.
In a recent case, a 13-year-old domestic help who was allegedly tortured and kept in confinement by a doctor couple in their house at Sector 6 of Dwarka here for the past six days was rescued by non-government organisation Shakti Vahini this past week. The employers, who were on a pleasure trip to Thailand along with their daughter and have not returned since then, have been booked under the Juvenile Justice Act, the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act and the Indian Penal Code.
The victim, who belongs to Gumla in Jharkhand, alleged that she had been working for the past year virtually without a salary. Her employers would allegedly beat her up on minor issues and also pull her hair out in anger.