Rescue of child labourers

Kailash Satyarthi congratulates Chief Minister, Punjab Police

Kailash Satyarthi congratulates Chief Minister, Punjab Police

Kailash Satyarthi . File photo

Aparna Banerji

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, August 8

Two days after 47 children were rescued following a police raid in Jalandhar, Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi tweeted to express thanks to CM Capt Amarinder Singh over the issue. Kailash Satyarthi tweeted: “Congratulations Capt Amarinder Singh Ji and Punjab Police for the rescue of 47 trafficked children from the rubber sandal factory in Jalandhar, arrest of traffickers, and sealing of the factory. I promise my continued support to make Punjab free from child labour and trafficking.”

While the Bachpan Bachao Andolan, founded by Satyarthi, has been active in providing information and rescue of children illegally employed in various vocations (hazardous and others) in the state, it has also assisted in the rescue of many labourers in Ludhiana. It is also after eight to nine years, that a raid and rescue of this magnitude was held in Jalandhar. The last time BBA helped in the rescue of children (12) in Jalandhar was before Satyarthi was awarded with the Nobel prize in 2014.

While the police have arrested six people – two owners of the factory and two agents in connection with the raids – the BBA has also taken up the issue of addition of requisite sections with the police. Notably, the FIR filed on August 6 includes Section 188 of the IPC, Section 3 of the Epidemic Diseases Act and Section 52 of the Disaster Management Act.

BBA activist Dinesh Kumar said: “We had previously submitted a complaint regarding the same factory to the Jalandhar DC in 2019, which was marked to the DC. But this time, following a complaint by the Chandigarh unit, prompt action was taken. The police have assured us of due action and also assured us of the inclusion of other requisite sections in the FIR.”

The Jalandhar Commissionerate on Thursday had rescued 47 child labourers including 13 girls from JK Rubbers Industry Private Limited and JK Polymer Industry, Wariana Leather Complex, on the Jalandhar-Kapurthala road. The factory had employed these children sans any social distancing measures amid the pandemic.

On a tip-off from NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan, a team set up under Commissioner of Police Gurpreet Singh Bhullar had raided both factories. While the factory on first inspection was found to be empty, 37 children were seen hiding on the rooftop. Ten more children were found from another block in the same factory. The owners are currently out on bail.

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