Valley?s shame: Children on sale | india | Hindustan Times
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Valley?s shame: Children on sale

Available in the clandestine marts thriving in the Kashmiri migrant camps of Talwara near Reasi are healthy little children ready to serve as bonded labour, reports Deepak Khajuria.

india Updated: Mar 31, 2006 04:10 IST

They are live ware. And of a heart-rending kind. Available in the clandestine marts thriving in the Kashmiri migrant camps of Talwara near Reasi are healthy little children ready to serve as bonded labour. Impoverished families are being forced to mortage their children to keep the home fires burning.

Reports say the asking rates vary between Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000.

The inhabitants of the camp on Wednesday came up with a unique demonstration against the state government at the Exhibition Ground: A mock sale of children.

Seven-year-old girl Babli was the face of the saga. Her moving tale narrated the plight of the families.

Talking to Hindustan Times, the little girl with a banner around her neck saying “Children for sale at Rs 3000” rued, “I want to become a doctor but my family’s ill luck has shattered my dreams”.

The sale might have been staged, but the trend a dark reality in quake-ravaged Valley. And the villagers readily admitted.

The migrants said that there was no fixed rate for “mortgaging” but it depended on the need of the family and the conditions of the buyer. The children are heart-broken and so are their parents. “Selling children is the last option,” said a villager, blaming the state government and administration for turning a blind eye to their plight and forcing them to “mortgage” children.

“I have mortgaged my two sons at different shops in Reasi and Talwara,” Dilip Singh said. “I needed money for my wife’s surgery and also for bringing food and other necessary items for the family. That’s why, I mortgaged two of my sons aged 14 and 11.” He wants to take them back home. “But only when I pay double the mortgage amount to the shopkeepers, where my children are working,”he said.