At least two children engaged as labourers were rescued by the police from a hotel in Navi Mumbai on Tuesday after a tip-off from the chairperson of the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights.
While the police were initially told by the hotel owner that his employees were not minors, the chairperson produced pictures he took as proof following which the children were rescued and taken to a shelter in Thane.
On September 12, the child commission chairperson, Pravin Gughe, was travelling from Mumbai to Aurangabad when he stopped near Sanpada flyover for dinner at Yash Bar and Restaurant. “We found alcohol being served and children working there. I took pictures and informed the police control room,” Gughe said.
A police team visited the hotel. According to officials, the hotel owner produced three others, none of them minors, and claimed that no minor worked at the property. The commission reached out to the Director General of Police, Maharashtra, and Navi Mumbai police commissioner claiming that those in the pictures looked young. “We asked the police officials to show pictures they had taken and found those people were not in the other pictures,” Gughe said.
On Tuesday, the commission assisted the police and rescued two children found working in the hotel. The children, aged 12 years, were produced in front of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) that directed to shift them to a Thane shelter home. CWC officers claimed that the children are from Jharkhand. The CWC directed Navi Mumbai police to register an FIR against the hotel owner. On Tuesday, Sanpada police registered an FIR under the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, sections 3(1), 7 and 11, against the hotel owner. “Children were working for more than the scheduled hours,” said Assistant Police Inspector Chetna Chaudhary.
She said a child was working for 10 days and another for a month, before the commission found them. “The parents have been contacted,” Chaudhary said.