The district administration has shifted a ten-year-old boy, who was allegedly kept in illegal confinement at the house of a retired senior superintendent (SSP) of police, to an orphan house without conducting his medical examination.
The medical examination of the boy should have been conducted immediately after he was rescued from the house of the retired cop as per guidelines under the Juvenile Justice Act.Further, the boy should have been sent to the children's home in Kurali but he was shifted to an orphan house near Rama Mandi despite the fact that he is not an orphan.
On Tuesday, the NGO 'Bachpan Bachao Andolan' had approached deputy commissioner KK Yadav along with the parents of the who complained the boy was kept as bonded labour in retired SSP (vigilance) DS Gill's house for the past two years and requested the boy be rescued from his house.
Yadav then asked the labour department to act on the complaint but the department said that as it was a complaint of bonded labour, only an officer of SDM level could act on it. The DC deputed SDM-I to look into the case but the complaint was further referred to Mandeep Singh, Tehsildar-1, and members of district task force to raid Gill's house.
The task force, along with the parents of the boy and activists of the NGO reached Gill's house in the evening but did not even knock the gate for two hours. Finally, child development and programme officer (CDPO) Inderjit Kaur reached the house and recorded the boy's statement who said he was happy at the retired SSP's house and the family was also taking care of his studies.
Genda Lal Yadav, the father of the boy said, "For the past two years, the retired SSP's family has kept my son as a bonded labour and denied him his basic rights. Time and again, I approached the family and asked them to return my son but to no avail."
Yadav said his son was just eight years old when he was brought to Punjab from a small hamlet of Rae Bareli, Uttar Pradesh. The boy's mother Gulab Devi said, "The family members of the retired SSP have forced my son to give statements in their favour and in turn, promised him some perks so that he refrains from telling the truth."
However, according to sources, the boy gave the impression of his left thumb after his statement was recorded in written, which clearly belies the fact that for the past two years, he was given proper education.
When contacted, Inderjit Kaur, child development project officer said that after producing the boy before the child welfare committee (CWC), he was shifted to a home. She said the labour department should be asked about the medical examination of the boy while the labour officials shifted the blame on the CWC.
Dinesh, an activist of Bachpan Bachao Andolan said the boy had given his statement under pressure.Mandeep Singh, tehsildar-1 said, "I was deputed to help the members so that they do not face any problem during the raid and it is up to the labour department and CDPO to take further action in the case."
When contacted, Sukesh Kalia, vice chairman of Punjab State Commission for Protection of Child Rights said, "I will talk to the deputy commissioner in this regard." Vinod Kumar Tikoo, former member of NCPCR (National Commission for Protection of Child Rights) said, "Administration should have sent him to a children's home rather than an orphan house and should have immediately taken action in the case."
Tikoo claimed that his medical examination should have also been conducted immediately after he was rescued from Gill's house.