Two lakh forty thousand child labourers in J&K

Srinagar: In spite of anti-child labour laws two lacs 40 thousand children are working as labourers in Jammu & Kashmir. A book titled: Child Labour in Jammu & Kashmir written by Dr. Fayyaz Ahmad Nakkah was released at a function held at College of Education Srinagar in which Abdul Ghani Malim, state’s minister for higher education who attended this function as the chief guest said that child labour is a matter of concern which needs to be addressed immediately. He said that the government is doing a good job to eradicate child labour but civil society e.g. public social activists, voluntary organisations and intellectuals also should come forward in this regard. He added that the government is running rehabilitation centres in the state.

He also revealed that according to a survey conducted a few years ago to find the exact number of child labourers, there were more than one lac fifty thousand children who were child labourers. In reply to a question he said that people who are violating the law regarding child labour will be dealt with according to the law. He also said that statistics and other details of children working in government employees homes will also be obtained and necessary steps will be taken accordingly.

Applauding the efforts of the writer Dr. Fayyaz Ahmad Nakkah Malik said that figures and other details given at the back will be helpful to the government. Dr. Fayyaz Ahmad surprised the audience by saying that 2 lacs 40 thousand children are working in the state and this figure is increasing day-by-day. He said that he was in a fix to write on this critical topic, but some teachers encouraged him. He described the completion of his book as an unforgettable feat of his life.

Dr. Fayyaz said that during the research he came to know that most parents are compelled to send these children to work due to poverty. He regretted that despite the laws against child labour this curse is persisting. He expressed his views that for uprooting this problem besides the government the people also should support this cause. In this function Prof. Suraiya Mathe, chairperson of Mada Maherban Trust was the guest of honour, Dr. Parveen Pandit principal of Government College of Education, Syed Fayaz Ahmad, registrar of Kashmir University and Noor Shah president of Urdu Academy were also present besides others.

The book is published by Nizam Publications. Apart from the Preface, which deals with the holistic overview of the subject, the book consists of four chapters, wherein a general review is made on the critical situations of child labourers in Kashmir and steps taken by the government on social economic and moral aspects of the matter etc. The book, consisting of 283 pages, includes meanings of difficult words, list of works or jobs coming under the Child Labour Law and also the questionnaire used for the research.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 March 2011 on page no. 8

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