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Children employed as goondas

By Raju Das

SHILLONG, Jan 11 � Meghalaya would conduct a high level inquiry into reports of children being employed by militant groups and coal barons as �goondas and child soldiers� in parts of the State.

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) yesterday said that after its meeting with officials here, the Government has assured that it would conduct a high level inquiry to probe into such reports.

There have been many reported incidents of children being used as �Goondas� in the coal belt of Shalang, West Khasi Hills by coal mine owners to get even with business rivals. Then there have been reports of militant organisations such as the Garo National Liberation Army employing children in their illegal activities.

�The Meghalaya Home Secretary is seized of the matter (child soldiers) and is taking steps to ensure that such incidents don�t happen. Moreover, an Inspector General would head a high level inquiry into children being used as goondas in the coal belts of the State,� Yogesh Dubey, member NCPCR said here after a meeting with Government officials.

Dubey, moreover, warned the Labour department that strong action would be taken against it if it fails to protect the rights of children after children were found to be working in the coal mines of Jaintia Hills district.

�We have Civil Court powers and can transfer or suspend officials and we would be seeing what actions the Labour department takes on child right protection till March when elections are over,� he added.

The Labour department has earned the ire of the Commission member after the department kept in cold storage a report of the Tata Institute of Social Studies which reported children working in seven coal depots in Jaintia Hills.

Although the report found 343 children, Dubey said, even a single children labour is unacceptable and the Labour department must have acted, instead of now saying that it cannot identify any of the children the TIS has reported.

�The report was not for reading and keeping it away. Actions must be taken in terms of rescue of child labour, rehabilitation and reform. The Labour department would be given time till March to ensure children don�t work in the rat-hole mines which are dangerous,� Dubey warned.

The member also said that rat-hole mines must be banned as these are dangerous, have direct correlation of children being employed in these dangerous mines owing to their small entry points.

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Children employed as goondas

SHILLONG, Jan 11 � Meghalaya would conduct a high level inquiry into reports of children being employed by militant groups and coal barons as �goondas and child soldiers� in parts of the State.

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) yesterday said that after its meeting with officials here, the Government has assured that it would conduct a high level inquiry to probe into such reports.

There have been many reported incidents of children being used as �Goondas� in the coal belt of Shalang, West Khasi Hills by coal mine owners to get even with business rivals. Then there have been reports of militant organisations such as the Garo National Liberation Army employing children in their illegal activities.

�The Meghalaya Home Secretary is seized of the matter (child soldiers) and is taking steps to ensure that such incidents don�t happen. Moreover, an Inspector General would head a high level inquiry into children being used as goondas in the coal belts of the State,� Yogesh Dubey, member NCPCR said here after a meeting with Government officials.

Dubey, moreover, warned the Labour department that strong action would be taken against it if it fails to protect the rights of children after children were found to be working in the coal mines of Jaintia Hills district.

�We have Civil Court powers and can transfer or suspend officials and we would be seeing what actions the Labour department takes on child right protection till March when elections are over,� he added.

The Labour department has earned the ire of the Commission member after the department kept in cold storage a report of the Tata Institute of Social Studies which reported children working in seven coal depots in Jaintia Hills.

Although the report found 343 children, Dubey said, even a single children labour is unacceptable and the Labour department must have acted, instead of now saying that it cannot identify any of the children the TIS has reported.

�The report was not for reading and keeping it away. Actions must be taken in terms of rescue of child labour, rehabilitation and reform. The Labour department would be given time till March to ensure children don�t work in the rat-hole mines which are dangerous,� Dubey warned.

The member also said that rat-hole mines must be banned as these are dangerous, have direct correlation of children being employed in these dangerous mines owing to their small entry points.

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