Cinema stars like Farooque Sheikh, Nandita Das, Priyanka Chopra and leading figures from the art world on Friday blamed the government for increasing child labour problems in the country.
“It's a problem of attitude and political willingness,” Sheikh said during a function in the capital to observe World Day against Child Labour.
The actor said that dropouts from schools, female foeticide, domestic violence and many more such evils are increasing and need punitive action. “We are spending a lot of money but we need to put money where the mouth is,” he said.
Actress Nandita Das said the “issue is non-negotiable”.
“Number of girl children employed illegally in the country is staggering. I have worked with under privileged children in many parts of the country and have seen their suffering. All these kids want is education but it's not available to them.”
Drawing a definite example, Das said children walk 15 kms to reach their school in Kandhamal district of Orissa. These are the impediments that force children to enter the labour market.
Another actor Priyanka Chopra urged people in general (through a video clip) to stop encouraging children at work. Dancer Geeta Chandran said while education remains a key issue for children in rural hinterlands, every one must take an oath to abolish the social evil in their own little way.
Painter Jatin Das and singer Penaz Masani also highlighted the extent of child labour in India and urged government to take proactive measures to help millions of children across the country.