Migrant labourers’ kids in Ludhiana soft targetsUpdated: Oct 31, 2019, 22:42 IST
The murder of a four-and-a-half-year-old boy after sodomy in Mukand Singh Nagar of Tibba road on Wednesday has once again exposed the unsafe living conditions in the city’s ‘vehras’, populated by migrant labourers.
Crimes against minors here have been increasing rapidly but the police seem to be doing nothing to change that. With just one creche in the city, run by a local NGO, labourers are forced to leave their children home alone when they go out for work.
In the past month alone, five incidents of sexual assaults against children living in vehras have been reported.
Common to all the incidents is the fact that the perpetrators and victims are from migrant families. Most of them are employed in factories as labourers or run roadside stalls, and have little or no time for their children, leaving them vulnerable to such assaults.
The area where the murder took place on Wednesday, has around 30 rooms measuring 8X10 ft. The families living here have a common bathroom and there are no checks on people visiting or leaving the premises.
Sitambar Singh Thakur, a former member of the Punjab Parvasi Bhalayi Board, a welfare body for migrant labourers, said the vehras were unsafe but the labourers prefer to live there owing to the low rents.
Assistant commissioner of police (ACP, Industrial Area B) Sandeep Wadhera said in most houses, both parents are working and are forced to leave the children at home with their older siblings or alone. “This makes them a soft target for criminals,” he said.
He added that in most cases the perpetrators of crime are family members, relatives or neighbours. “The police are in contact with NGOs for running a daycare centre for children of labourers and are looking for land for establishing crèches,” the ACP said.
5 CASES THIS MONTH
October 30: A 19-year-old man raped his five-year-old cousin in New Janta Nagar.
October 28: Two brothers, in their 30s, kidnapped a 14-year-old neighbour and raped her.
October 28: 40-year-old shopkeeper attempted rape on an 8-year-old girl after pulling her into his shop in Sherpur Kalan.
October 5: A 19-year-old labourer arrested for allegedly raping his 14-year-old neighbour.
September 29: Daresi police arrested a 28-year-old man for raping the 15-year-old daughter of his neighbour. The victim had given birth to a stillborn child at the civil hospital.