[Reader-list] A failed child-labour rescue and other dilemmas of Jamia Nagar

shivam at kafila.org shivam at kafila.org
Sat Nov 6 22:00:03 IST 2010

Dear Yousuf,

Many thanks for bringing this to wider attention. The use of the religion
card in such a manner is very unfortunate and should be condemned by all. In
effect this is resulting in the use of religion to perpetuate the
exploitation of children. The local community 'leaders' of Jamia Nagar, the
politicians, religious functionaries and old residents should all rethink
what they have just done. With an act like this they are delegtimising their
valid concerns with the security apparatus post-Batla encounter. For the
next time they cry blue murder, who will take them seriously? For so many
who have stood with the Jamia Nagar residents, particularly the university
teachers, the Jamia community owes an answer.

There's one point you make that I disagree with. You say that the religion
card comes in the way of the authorities checking illegal construction. My
understanding is that the residents have a very good understanding with the
police as far as that is concerned. This 'under-standing' is regarding the
standing rates under the table, the chai paani you know. It is the same as
everywhere. In fact, having learnt from some old residents about this
relationship of the Under Standing that the Jamia community has with the
police and authorities, I was quite fascinated that this rather secular
relationship continued despite and after the fake encounter/ police murder.
Knowing our police, it is very likely that the Bachpan Bachao Andolan raid
and consequent rescue of the children from the rescuers by the mob would
have been followed by some Under Standing between the children's employers
and the police.


On 4 November 2010 20:53, Yousuf <ysaeed7 at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Dear all
> Below is a very unfortunate news from Jamia Nagar, New Delhi. On 1st
> November a team of activists from the NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan along with
> police officials tried to rescue about 60 children working in the sweatshops
> of zari industry in Batla House. They had almost secured these children and
> were taking them away, but their operation failed because a mob led by local
> leaders gathered around them and snatched all the children back. They spread
> the rumour that the activists were “conspiring against Muslims” and
> forcefully taking away “their” children. The police obviously watched the
> whole drama without taking any action. They were afraid that the event may
> take a turn of communal violence. (http://www.bba.org.in/news/011110.php)
> This is a very sad state of affairs, not only for the presence of rampant
> child labour in this area, the defiance of the local goons, and the silence
> of the police. But it is more unfortunate because of the inaction and
> silence of the entire intellectual class originating from Jamia. The
> neighbourhood of Jamia Nagar is spread around a central university whose
> many staff, teachers and students reside here. Jamia has well known
> departments and centres for the study and training in Social Work, Peace
> Studies, Minority Studies, media studies, Childhood development centre,
> Gandhian studies and host of others (see http://www.jmi.ac.in/centres.htm).
> But right under the lamp there seems darkness.
> This is not the first time that the local people used the “Muslim” card to
> thwart any outside attempt to improve their lot. Of course there has been a
> lot of insecurity due to the recent incidents of “terrorist encounter” and
> so on. And the people’s hostility and anger towards the police and
> “non-Muslims” can be understood in the light of the generalisations made by
> the media and the police about the people of this area. But this can also
> have a different sort of advantage. Pretending the fear of local backlash,
> the authorities have decided in the recent months to turn a blind eye to the
> mass-scale illegal construction of apartment buildings in the already narrow
> and cramped lanes, allowing the neighbourhood to become utterly inhuman to
> live. This construction activity and the zari factories are all part of the
> growing monster that this area has become. And the religious identity is a
> good excuse to allow the monstrosity to grow larger. Of
>  course, one shouldn’t even mention that Delhi’s aspirations of becoming a
> world class city during the recent CW games didn’t touch this area in any
> way.
> I don’t know what can be done about it. But I am writing here hoping that
> at least some discussion or debate could ensue in some place to make sense
> of what is going on. But more than a closed-door discussion, this
> neighbourhood needs a street-level debate on how not to use the religious
> identity for petty issues, and how real are these “conspiracies against
> Muslims”.
> Any ideas?
> Yousuf Saeed
> ----
> Child Labour Rescue Operation failed due to inefficient attitude of
> administration
> On 1st of November 2010, Bachpan Bachao Andolan alongwith the labour
> department, Task Force and Delhi Police conducted a raid and rescue
> operation in their effort to eradicate Child Labour in Jamia Nagar, New
> Delhi. After rigorous effort by the activists of BBA more than 200 child
> labourers in zari industry were identified. On this context BBA filed a
> complaint to the District Task Force, D.C South on 19th October 2010. After
> two planning meetings with all stakeholders of District Task Force, the raid
> and rescue date was finalised on 1st November 2010. As such the team
> gathered at Kalkaji Police Station at 9:30 a.m to move for identified spot
> headed by SDM, Defence Colony, Mr. P.N. Jha and moved towards Batla House
> and hence started the rescue operation.  Children in this area were involved
> in the zari works in miserable condition. They were between 6 years to 13
> years of age.
> The whole process of rescue was done peacefully and the teams were
> successful in rescuing around sixty children and they were being taken to
> the vehicle, but suddenly out of nowhere two person named Amanatulla and
> Samiulla, who introduced themselves as some members of a political
> organization, along with the owners of the industry came and interrupted the
> process of rescue operation. These two person propagated a communal flavour
> during conversation with our team members and motivated the people by saying
> that these people are against Muslims.
> As a result of their interruption the local people started gathering and
> asking questions. The Police Officials and the people from the labour
> department remained standing as mere spectators and most of them disappeared
> from the spot. The activists of Bachpan Bachao Andolan were treated
> indecently by the owners and the two so called local leaders namely
> Amanautulla and Samiulla. They went to that extent of obstructing the whole
> process and started to threaten the children and forcefully snatched the
> rescued children away.
> In spite of this, the Police and the Labour Department did not take any
> action and at last we had to return back empty handed. Shri R.S Chaurasia,
> Chairperson of BBA, said in this context “This happened because of the
> inefficient attitude of the administration but our activists will continue
> this movement against those who are responsible for creating this kind of
> inhuman situation unless all rescued children are rescued in that area
> Now we are going to file complain to the appropriate authority to take
> proper action against who interrupted the official work by sustaining the
> rescue operation and forcibly taking away the freed children and thus
> registering cases for kidnapping/ abduction for purpose of slavery (Sec.367
> IPC), obtaining possession of a minor for an illegal/immoral purpose of
> child labour (Sec. 373 IPC), Criminal Assault, obstructing and assaulting a
> public servant from doing his/her duty (Sec. 186, 189 IPC), Criminal
> Intimidation and threat of grievous hurt or death (Sec. 506), Criminal
> Conspiracy etc.
> http://www.bba.org.in/news/011110.php
> Also see:
> http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/Mob-forces-rescued-kids-to-return/articleshow/6861743.cms
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shivam at kafila.org | Delhi

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