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Children at traffic signals selling away right to education

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Pramita Sarkar

Bangalore, 29 Sept, 2016: Several kids in Bangalore city are being denied their right to education and are being forced into child labor by their parents, doing petty jobs from selling pens, stickers, flowers on the street to cleaning cars on signals.

Chairperson Child Welfare Committee Anita Shivkumar said “It’s more beggary than child labor and it is a major concern in our country. The children are forced by their parents only to feed the whole family. The number of cases of children indulging in such activities has gone up by 10 percent in last two months.” She added that the government has launched missions like Smile and Muskan where the police has teamed up with various NGOs. In the past, to save these children they were sent to rehabilitation centers, but they run away from there. These children think they are being harassed as they’ve been brainwashed to think that education is of no use, as they are just wasting time and not earning any money while doing so.”

Aapsa and Bosco are two leading NGOs who work for child rehabilitation and they were also a part of the rescue programme for this kind of street children initiated by Government. T K Anil Kumar, Director, Census operation (Karnataka) says “The literacy is a complex issue and can’t be studied exactly. There has been a minor decline in literacy, but that could also be because of illiterate migrant coming to the city. The police work very hard to save children from such incidents but in a country with such a huge population it is not easy to keep check on everything.”
Senior counselor Shivani, Makkala Sahayavani- ‘a unique initiative of the police and community to protect the rights of children ‘said, “it is no less than slavery as they are being denied their basic right to education and being forced into labor. “ she further said “adults force their children to work to help the family financially and lessen burden on themselves.”

Under Right to Education (RTE) act enacted on 4th August 2009 every child belonging to the age of six to 14 has to be given free and compulsory education by the government. India became one of the 135 nations to make educational a fundamental right. In 2010 still lakhs of children across the country are devoid of this fundamental right. The government started the Mid Day Meal program to encourage poor families to send their children to school in 1995.

Bhuvaneshwari an eight year old girl who was selling roses on M.G. Road said “I do this to make a living and feed myself. I have to give all the money to parents at the end of the day, I hardly make around Rs 150 a day by selling roses for Rs 20 a flower. My parents can’t afford school fees and they are unaware of any free education schemes, they also sell candies on the streets.”
Hanuman Thappa a traffic constable on M.G. Road said “We don’t allow children to do business on the roads. They mostly work after 5 p.m. when our shift ends and police deployment is low. Most of these kids have migrated from Andhra Pradesh.” A book-seller on M.G. Road said “It is an organized business, these goons forcefully send kids to sell, so people would sympathies with them. They take away the money from these kids as soon as they have collected a considerable amount.”

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