April, 16 1994,
The Times of India, New Delhi
7 Orissa children escape
By a Staff Reporter
children working as bonded labourers have been rescued from a
flyover construction site in Shahdara. Hailing from Orrisa, they
are less than 17 years of age; the youngest is 13.
They were rescued by a Sarvodaya worker, Mr. Gopal Giri, who
brought them to Swami Agnivesh of the Bonded Liberation Front
Agnivesh said he would take up the matter with the chief minister,
Mr. Madan Lal Khurana, and the labour minister, Mr. Harsharan
Singh Balli, He has urged the Delhi Administration to trace the
culprits and obtain release certificates for the children. He
added that efforts were being made to rescue the other 40 odd
children, working at the site.
said he visited the Seelampur police station, in north-east district,
on April 11 and 12 but they refused to register a case against
additional deputy commissioner of north-east district police,
Mr. Pranab Nanda, said neither Swami Agnivesh nor any of his men
went to the police station with such a complaint on either day.
MEET : All seven children were present at a press conference
where the Swami narrated their tale. From Odowa and Veerkot
villages in Orissa's Gazipatti district, they were reportedly
promised Rs 3,350 and two meals a day, by a racketeer on February
13 last. At the Baluga railway station, the alleged labour contractor
took over and herded them into a Delhi-bound train. None of them
had informed their parents.
reached Shahdara on February 15. The next day, the were put
to work on the flyover. Their day began at 8 am and ended at nightfall,
sometimes as late as 11 p.m. The twice-a-day meals promised turned
out to be insufficient and every Sunday, they were paid Rs 5.
Upon protesting, they were repeatedly beaten and locked at night
inside a room. Five days later, they made an unsuccessful bid
by the contractor's musclemen, they are said to have been thrashed
and subjected to electric shocks and other forms of physical torture.
Two of them started vomiting blood and another two suffered severe
chest pain and urinary problems. The labour contractor told
them he had paid Rs. 5,000 for them and had spent another Rs.
300-400 on train fare. He threatened them with dire consequences
if they ever tried to escape again.
PROVIDED: On March 30, four of the 40-odd children working
at the site, Dushyant Nayak, Balkrishna Bastrai, Sanjeev Naik
and Manual Bastrai managed to escape and take refuge at a nearby
Leprosy home. Here, they were helped by Mr. Gopal Giri, who later
managed to rescue another three children, Sushil Nayak, Manoj
Mahapatra and Raj Kumar Veero. Last Tuesday, Mr. Naik contacted
Swami told reporters that the children's parents have been told
of their whereabouts and efforts were on to send them home with