The tragic death of an 11-year-old boy would have slipped into oblivion just like his torturous six-month stay at the bindi and bangle factory at Jahangirpuri in northwest Delhi.
But when some workers of the factory were spotted sneaking in a slab of ice into the one-room unit, some neighbours got suspicious and raised an alarm.
"Had the neighbours not alerted us and the police, the owners would have simply buried the boy and got away with it," said Rakesh Sengar, activist associated with Bachpan Bachao Andolan.
The neighbours had called up the child rights NGO which asked them to alert the police.
"The neighbours alleged that the employer used to beat the children and torture them when they refused to work," a senior police officer said.
Bachpan Bachao Andolan has filed a separate complaint with the police. "We have asked the police to trace other children who were working in the same factory. The employer did not care to inform the police even 24 hours after the death of the child and the dead body remained there," the NGOs complaint stated.
According to the child rights NGOs, a number of factories in Jahangirpuri employ hundreds of minors. Police said that they can take action only upon receiving a complaint.
"We can act only when there is a complaint. In this case, we are waiting for the postmortem report. A complaint has been given by an NGO and we are verifying whether there are more children working in the area," a senior police officer said.
A Delhi government official told HT that closure orders have been issued against the unit and an inquiry will be set up to trace the children who have allegedly gone missing from the factory.