Missing children no issue for Lok Sabha hopefuls
Though six children go missing from Delhi everyday on an average, not a single candidate has taken up the issue. Jaya Shroff Bhalla reports.delhi Updated: Apr 24, 2009 01:24 IST
A man, involved in illegal trade of alcohol, sold Meena Devi’s two-and-a-half-year-old daughter to a stranger. Police refused to lodge a complaint saying it was a family dispute.
Devi Thakur’s son, 3, was allegedly kidnapped last month. The kidnapper reportedly continues to demand Rs 50,000 from Thakur. Despite several rounds of complaints to the local police, no action was taken.
Gayasuddin’s son went missing two years ago. The police are yet to initiate any action to rescue the boy.
This is how Delhi is dealing with the crime of child trafficking. And helpless poor parents like Meena Devi, Devi Thakur and Gayasuddin will take to the streets on Friday to remind the government and the candidates exactly this.
And leading them would be activists of Bachpan Bachao Andolan, a child rights organisation that has been instrumental in rescuing bonded labourers for several years now. The organisation now wants to take the fight against the apathy of the police and the government to the public.
Along with hundreds of parents, the activists will march up to Parliament Street.
“It is extremely unfortunate that the government is so indifferent towards the pain of these parents,” said Kailash Satyarthi, child rights activist. The organisation is demanding a formal policy on child rights.
“What is worse is that the issue of bonded child labour and trafficking has been widely exposed by the media in last few months, but no candidate contesting in the Lok Sabha elections has taken it up in their campaigns, rallies or public meetings,” said Satyarathi.
The purpose, he said, was to make these candidates listen. “While children do not form a vote bank, they value immensely in the development of the country.”
Child rights activists say the Capital of the world’s largest democracy has become a haven for child traffickers. But, the issue does not figure anywhere on the agenda of political parties because children are no vote bank.
According to statistics available with Delhi Police, on an average six children go missing from homes in Delhi and hundreds of them are trafficked to Delhi from various parts of the country everyday.
The protestors also intend to submit a memorandum to President Pratibha Patil seeking action against the erring state machinery. “It is time the local police and the Labour Department woke up to the reality. Trafficking and child slavery need to end,” he said.