TITLE>India still Enslaved Global March Against Child Labour - From Exploitation to Education
Global March Against Child Labour: From Exploitation to Education
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Global March Against Child Labour
Global March Against Child Labour - From Exploitation to Education

India still Enslaved

 

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Silent Protestors were beaten and arrested in presence of Legal Authorities

 
Bonded labourers as core marchers of "Second Freedom Struggle"
   
 
 
One of the core marcher brutally beaten by landlord in the presence of police officers

Punjab in these years has become a core center for bonded labourers.  Children and adults are trafficked from Bihar, West Bengal regions and are brought to Punjab to work as bonded labourers BBA activists have been involved in rescuing children from the most hazardous and traumatized situations  from last many years.

Raju (name changed) 13 years old lived in abject poverty in Bihar with his family which included his unemployed father, his mother, two brothers and a sister.  Around five to six years back one Mr. Ramchandra Sada (middleman) beguiled Raju's mother into sending her son with him to work for good money and a better future. Ramchandra Sada took Raju and 4-5 other children with him to a person called Dilbagh Singh alias Baagi Singh in a village called Bodh in Amritsar, Punjab. Raju was told by the middleman that he would get money from Dilbagh Singh for the labour he provided. There was another boy working with him. Dilbagh Singh owned around 30-35 cows and buffaloes and Raju had to take care of them from five in the morning to 11 in the night. In the morning, Raju had to cut fodder in a manually operative machine and feed the cattle. He had to milk the cattle, collect the cow and buffalo dung as well as bathe the cattle. He also had to monitor the watering of 6-7 acres of farmland as well as put manure in the vast fields.
After a hard days work, Raju was given stale food consisting of one roti (bread) and dal (pulses), that also only once in a day at five in the evening. Many a times he was asked to water the fields at night in the bitter cold winter which made his hands and feet go numb. He was physically abused for any delays or mistakes. He was also verbally abused which he disliked the most.
Raju was also forced to drink alcohol at night by his employer to enable him to work in the field in the bitter cold. He was also sometimes served tea containing local drug during the daytime to enable him to work without feeling tired. Raju was never allowed to rest or taken to the doctor when he was ill and was given the old torn clothes of his employer's children. He was never allowed to visit his parents in his village. Every time that he would ask for permission, Raju was told that he was owned by his employer as he had bought him and had to work for him for the rest of his life.

In the 4 years that Raju had worked for Dilbagh Singh, he did not receive any amount for his work. He was told that Ramchandra Sada takes Rs.12,000 every year for the labour provided by Raju.
At Raju's uncle's complaint, BBA in a raid with the help of local police rescued Raju on 29th March 2006. After being rescued, Raju underwent rehabilitation in one of BBA's transit rehabilitation centres and was repatriated and reintegrated with his family in Bihar.

Bachpan Bachao Andolan activist and leaders in its 27 years of struggle has always been the first one to raise its voice against slavery.  This year BBA with its partners Dalit Dasta Virodhi Andolan (DDVA) organized a foot march (pad yatra) "Second Freedom Struggle" to put an end to the agony of these victims.

The foot march under the leadership of Mr. Jai Singh of Dalit Dasta Virodhi Andolan (DDVA) started their non violent demonstration to demand justice for the Bonded labourers on 14th August 07 covering villages of Punjab. On the way ,as March moved forward spreading awareness against bonded labour the landlords who were the offenders and were employing trafficked children for work got petrified, because "Second Freedom Struggle Pad Yatra" was getting huge and positive response from the community.

On 13th September 2007 when the padyarta was crossing Kangarh village in Mansa district of Baretha post the marchers were brutally beaten up by the landlords in the presence of the legal fraternity. Instead of taking action against the landlords police officers arrested the marchers. More then 30 marchers are badly injured which include women and children.

This is not first brutal attack of the landlords on the marchers but they have been harassing the marcher every day.  The nonviolent march was on 8th Sept 2007 stopped at Sangror District and threatened that if they will not discontinue the padyatra they will kill everyone in the march.  Mr Jai Sing went to police station to file a complaint against the landlords but the SHO instead of helping marchers helped landlords and arrested the leader of the padyatra  ( foot march) Mr Jai Singh and filed a case against him under 107,151 and 188.

As being a citizen of a democratic country we all have a right to speech but this incident breaks all the laws of humanity and is making us believe that India is still enslaved if not by colonial rulers, then by the corrupt system of our government.

Till now no action has been taken on the police authorities and the landlords. Mr Jai Singh is in custody of police the situation in that area is getting out of control the lives of the innocent silent protestors is in danger but still our government is num about the whole issue.

 
   
 
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