For children of a lesser god, it's about abuse, slavery
New Delhi: Being forced to sit like a hen for hours or getting thrashed for being slow at work. Or being starved as punishment and not given enought to eat. This is not a throwback to a 17th century slave plantation but an instance of the modern day travails of children in India as young as eight who work in the numerous manufacturing and handicraft units, small-time eateries and factories in and around the capital.
Eight-year old Aman, who was recently rescued from a zari embroidery unit, says that the punishments meted out in these factories are severe. "I was brought to Delhi from Nepal by an uncle in my village. My parents were told I will have a better life in India and I will be sent to a good school to learn the art of zari embroidery. Coming here, I was made to work in a zari unit from 8 am to 12 pm, was given food twice a day, without being allowed to go out of the building," Aman told IANS.
His tale is similar to Satvik's horrific ordeal. His employer would make him sit like a hen and cane him for being slow in his work as an embroiderer. According to the 2001 census, there were officially 12.9 million child labourers in India, though child rights activists say the figure is much higher. The figure for Delhi was 41,899, but civil society and NGOs like Save the Children estimate it about 50,000 to 200,000.
Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), an NGO working for children, said a large number of children are trafficked from poor and underdeveloped states like Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh to cities like Delhi and Mumbai and made to work in various industries for paltry wages.