Mangaluru: Dakshina Kannada District Legal Aid Authority, District Administration and District Child Labour Planning Association, District Police Department and Mangalore Bar Association jointly organized, the International Anti-Child Labour Day and Legal Awareness Programme at the Netravati Hall, Zilla Panchayat here on June 12.
The programme began with an invocation. B G Nayak welcomed the gathering. First Additional District and Sessions Judge C M Joshi inaugurated the programme by lighting the traditional lamp along with other dignitaries.
Addressing the gathering C M Joshi said, “When we look at our country’s history, we see that there were many child prodigies. But this era has given rise to exploitation of children for labour. Even though laws have been made to protect children from forced labour, we should all keep in mind that just the law is not enough to curb child labour. We should take a tough stand on this, beginning from our homes. How many of us employ children to work in our houses? Are we being true to our conscience?” he questioned.
He further said, “The major cause for child labor in our country is poverty. Most of the parents of child laborers live in extreme poverty and hence, the children are forced to work. The mandate of the constitution is to see that poverty is eliminated. Many children have been rescued from forced labour, but that alone does not work. Rehabilitation of the rescued children is essential to integrate them back into society. Rescue and rehabilitation go hand in hand; we can’t do one and ignore the other. When we can properly rehabilitate rescued children, only then can we say that the fight against child labour is effective.”
Senior Civil Judge Ganesh B administered the oath to the gathering. Bags were distributed to the rescued children on the occasion.
President of the Mangalore Bar Association Changappa said, “Last year was an important year since Indian child rights campaigner Kailash Satyarthi and Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai received joint Nobel prize for fighting for child rights. Child labour in urban areas in the country has increased by 53% over 2001-2011 and has been decreasing at a mere 2.2% per year over the last decade. Today, over a crore children continue to be part of the country’s workforce. It is a matter of great sadness and shame that even after 68 years of Independence, we could not eliminate child labour.”
“There are many nomadic people who go from place to place searching for work; their children also go with them and are forced to work to support the family. Even though we have setup a helpline 1098, how many of us call and send complains when we see children on the streets selling various stuff to make money? These are suo moto cases, and when we find such things happening around us, we need to take immediate action. We have to give this issue the importance it deserves and bring it to the mainstream. One volunteer is better than a thousand forced men. Let us all be volunteers and work together to eradicate child labour.” He concluded saying, “It is said that wars are fought between the minds, and so we need to change the mentality of people to bring better changes in society.” He also advised the MSW and Nursing students to devote some time to this cause.
Speaking on the occasion Deputy Commissioner A B Ibrahim stressed on the need of eliminating child labour from the society and also appreciated the Child Welfare Committee and other organizations who strive hard to eradicate Child labour. Looking into the cause of child labour is important. One among the various reasons of child labour is big families where there are many children in the family, parents cannot provide proper education and basic facilities. In this situation some parents send their children to work for meager wages so that the family will get additional income to meet the expenses. He urged the gathering to be role models to eradicate child labour.
Earlier CEO of ZP, P A Shreevidya flagged off the rally from Urva Stores which culminated at the ZP premises. SP Dr Sharanappa, Deputy director Women and Children Development department Getrude Veigas, Director Prajna Counselling centre Hilda Rayappan, Deputy Director Public Education department Walter H D’Mello, assistant labour commissioner D G Nagesh and others were also present.