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Child labourers: NHRC notice to states over lackadaisical attitude

Child labourers: NHRC notice to states over lackadaisical attitude
Taking a serious note of the ‘lackadaisical attitude’ of authorities in rehabilitating 740 child labourers rescued from Rajasthan, NHRC has issued notices to Rajasthan, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.

The Commission asked the state authorities to submit action taken reports within eight weeks.

“The NHRC has taken it very seriously that six states have adopted lackadaisical attitude in the rehabilitation of 740 bonded child labourers rescued from various parts of Rajasthan during March, 2013 to July, 2014,” said a statement issued by the Commission.

During the court of inquiry, the Commission found that 740 child labourers were rescued which included 610 from Bihar and the rest 130 from Jharkhand, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Rajasthan.

But release certificates were issued for only 456 children from Bihar. However, they were not given copies of the certificates by the authorities in Rajasthan. Release Certificates for 284 rescued bonded child labourers were yet to be issued, which are essential to start their rehabilitation process in their respective States by the concerned District administration, the statement stated.

“No heed seems to have been paid to the miseries of the children. The issue of the rescue of child labourers is not merely an instance of employing a child in violation of laws. It is rather more heinous in nature that children are being taken from one state to another, which cannot happen without the involvement of human/child traffickers,” observed Justice D Murugesan, Member, NHRC. 

Murugesan also observed that no report has been submitted by the State agencies of the six state governments regarding the action taken plan to curb this menace of child trafficking, which requires to be handled with a coordinated approach to prevent such instances in the future.

“Therefore, the allegation of the complainant that the human or child traffickers have not been dealt with in accordance with law, required to be investigated in an impartial and transparent manner,” the statement said.

Accordingly, notices have been issued to the Chief Secretary and Director General of Police, Government of Rajasthan to get the cases of these 740 rescued child bonded labourers investigated through CB-CID at headquarters.

The report shall inter-alia contain the identification of children belonging to Schedule Caste/Schedule Tribe, if any. A notice has been issued to the Labour Commissioner, Government of Rajasthan, calling for an action taken report, indicating the reasons for non-issue of the Release Certificates.

The report shall contain the measures taken for recovery of outstanding wages and rehabilitation amount from the employers, including Rs 20,000 for each rescued child and penal action taken against the offenders involved in child labour and child trafficking, the statement said.

Further, notices have been issued to the Chief Secretaries, Directors General of Police/Commissioner of Police and Labour Commissioners of Governments of Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and NCT of Delhi to submit comprehensive action taken report, indicating the rehabilitation of released child labourers and penal action taken against the offenders involved in the alleged child trafficking.

Bundelkhand drought: Panel seeks report from UP and MP 
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Friday sought reports from the governments of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh over the deplorable plight of people living in drought-hit Bundelkhand region, covering the two states.

NHRC has taken suo motu cognisance of media reports on the condition of the inhabitants of the parched Bundelkhand region, spread over 13 districts of UP and MP, where people are living in distress.

“The media reports, carried on March 28 exposing the plight of the poor inhabitants of the Bundelkhand region, if true, raise serious issues of violation of human rights to life, equality and dignity of the people,” observed the Commission and issued notices to the CSs of both the states, calling for detailed reports within four weeks. 
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