The city police have rescued three child labourers who were working for an eatery in Greater Noida on Thursday. The children hail from Jharkhand and, according to the police, were being tortured for the past six months.
According to the police, the victims said they were hounded by the pet dogs of the owner of the house they were staying in.
“We have rescued the remaining two children from a bungalow at Officer’s Colony. They were forced to cook for a restaurant. Its owner, identified as Avinash, was arrested from the spot. A case under the relevant sections of the IPC was registered,” said Anil Pratap Singh, SHO, Kasna police station.
He also said that the police have sealed the restaurant ‘My Spice Kitchen’ in the Jagat Farm area. Its co-owner, identified as Mukesh, who had allegedly brought the children from Jharkhand, is absconding. It was his house that the children were rescued from.
“The victims were sent for medico-legal test where it was found that they had been beaten up often. They were handed over to childline officials for counselling. Primary investigation suggests that they were forced to cook for the restaurant,” Singh added.
Satyaprakash, director, FXB India Suraksha, an NGO working for child rights, said the rescued children are yet to receive counselling. “The child welfare committee has taken them to the hospital for age verification. Once the legal formalities are complete, they will be brought to us for counselling,” he said.
The city police had launched ‘Operation Smile’ some time ago to reunite missing children with their families. The police have contacted their counterparts in Jharkhand and informed them about the incident.
“The Jharkhand police are searching for their parents. They will be reunited soon,” said a senior police official.
The victims belong to a tribal community from Jharkhand and they were allegedly sold to Mukesh by a local contractor.
“A manhunt is on to nab the absconding accused. Avinash was produced in the court and was sent to jail,” the official added.