Union Minister’s brother in dock after probe panel confirms child labour accusations against him

December 25th, 2007 - 10:52 pm ICT by admin  

Patna/New Delhi, Dec 25 (ANI): Brother of Union Rural Development Minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh has been found guilty of child labour by engaging two small kids as oxen to till his agricultural land at Shahpur village in Vaishali district of Bihar, according to a probe panel constituted by the State Government.
“Yes, the report was true, and the top officials of the Labour Department and other departments visited the spot. They found that for many years people are using children for ploughing the field,” Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar and BJP leader, Sushil Kumar Modi told reporters.
However, the latest report of the State Labour Commissioner Vimla Nand Jha that has been sent to the Advocate-General to decide on the legal implications of it has refuted a preliminary enquiry report prepared by Deputy Labour Commissioner of Muzaffarpur, S K Rai.
Rai in his preliminary investigation report had stated that the video clip taken by reporters of some TV news channel, showing two kids being used as oxen in the minister’s brother’s land was a ’stage managed’ and ‘planted’.
The minister had also termed it as ’stage-managed,’ and had said, “No manual labour has been used and the media has hyped the issue.” On December 9, the video footage was telecasted by some news channels that led to disruptions in the State Assembly with the BJP leaders demanding resignation of Singh, who is also a leader of the Rashtriya Janata Dal.
The two children, who featured in the video, later said that they were asked to pose for the photographs by the reporters and were given money to do so.
The latest report, however, has stated that accusations against Raghuraj Singh, brother of the Union Minister, are true.
“After cross examining several villagers and those children whose services were used for tilling, it has been found to be true that Raghuraj Singh had hired the boys and engaged them for tilling,” the report states, adding, “This practice is going on at Shahpur village for a long time as lot of farmers are taking services of child labourers for tilling.”
The panel has recommended legal action against those involved. (ANI)

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