Child labour is one of the most prominent evils of todays society. So on the occasion of Anti-Child Labor Day on Tuesday,a group of 36 children,rescued from forced labour and aged between six and twelve,gathered outside the district collectorate at Ambedkar Chowk in protest against this evil.
These children are part of the Action for the Rights of the Child (ARC),a network of NGOs dedicated to protecting the rights of children and preventing child abuse.
The children made posters that either protested against child labour or against children being used in begging. They held banners that read slogans like: Bal majdoori band kara; nahitar khurchi kali kara (Stop child labor or step down. The demonstration also saw a street play,based on the theme of a young domestic help wanting to go to school.
According to a release issued by the ARC here,the process of prosecution of offenders and rehabilitation of these children have been extremely difficult in spite of a good co-ordination among the labor department,police and the activists. The reasons are several as they are diverse. There have been instances when parents send their children back to work because they either need the money or because they simply cant protect them from unscrupulous people. There have also been problems in taking care and protecting the rescued children.
Mrinal Rao,who is the co-coordinator of the network, said the basic objective of the protest was to attain a child labor-free society and helping children understand their rights to education and a healthy childhood. The aim is to tell them to raise their voices against child labour, she said.
In a letter drafted by the children of the organization to the Pune collector,the organization,which works closely with PMC,has demanded more meetings and stricter raids.
The rescued children put up quite a show to extend their solidarity to children who are still being abused. Through sloganeering,they voiced their protest against child rights abuse.