Activists allegedly beaten up while rescuing child labourers

February 16th, 2009 - 9:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Feb 16 (IANS) Activists of an NGO, working on child rights, Monday alleged that they were beaten up by employers of bangle factories as they tried to rescue child labourers working there.

Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) activists, along with a few policemen, went to the Sanjay Nagar, which is a congested slum area with several bangle factories and bakeries, to rescue the child labourers working there.

“The activists had rescued 10 children and just as they were going to rescue more, the owners of those factories called their friends and supporters and they attacked the activists,” said Umesh Gupta, a BBA member.

“There were nearly 80 people who surrounded the group of activists and beat them up. A few journalists who had accompanied the mission also got beaten up along with them and their cameras were snatched. Even the constables couldn’t do much to protect them,” he added.

After several calls, more policemen finally arrived. However by then, most of the employers had escaped taking along with them the rescued kids.

“We were left with just three children of the 10 that we rescued. Since that area was very congested, with narrow lanes and had just one exit, we couldn’t even stop them. But this attack has not weakened us. It has motivated us more to take stronger actions against the people who are exploiting children and playing with their lives,” said Shiveer Shastri, another BBA activist who had led the drive.

The rescued children will now be rehabilitated, he added.

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