The Hyderabad Police have, on Thursday and Friday, rescued 117 kids enslaved in the hazardous industry of making the glittery bangles the old city markets around the Charminar in Hyderabad are famous for.
The police special drive in the Talabkhatta area notorious for rowdy sheeters and pehelwans (musclemen) comes after a regular search operation last week ahead of the Republic Day shockingly revealed 220 child labour crammed into small rooms in inhumane conditions.
“The state government took serious note of child labour and asked us to adopt a zero tolerance to eliminate this menace completely from the city. Our operation along with labour officials etc freed 87 kids on Thursday and about 30 kids on Friday,” south zone DCP Velivela Satyanarayana tells HT.
It is criminal to employ children in hazardous work. All the 337 kids rescued till now are between age of 6-13 years and mostly hail from Bihar districts of Gaya, Nalanda, Nawada etc.
“However, we suspect the some of these particularly those rescued today are kids of the illegal migrants from Bangladesh or Myanmar. We have put special officers to ascertain their details,” Satyanarayana, who is leading the mission, says.
The kids are brought here by an organized mafia which pays a paltry amount of Rs. five to ten thousand to their parents - cashing on their poverty. Here they are promised Rs 1000 per month and meager meals – their only break from the dawn to midnight work every day.
The police so far arrested 32 chronic offenders like Yasin Pehelwan and his sons Irfaan and Akram in this regard. We would also probe, and if found fit arrest, the bangle shop owners, officials said.
Small kids are employed in the bangle industry for their labour comes cheap and as the tiny hands are well suited for embellishing of the ornaments. Some kids are working in the leather industry – also hazardous.
Working with and sleeping amidst the chemicals, the exposure is causing lung infections, skin conditions among the children apart from severe malnutrition.
The kids are kept in the rescue homes and efforts are on to send them back to their respective places in a few days. NGOs are coming forward to partner with the Police in this effort.