In Nithari light, rescued kids, parents seek child rights protection

Express News Service

Kolkata, February 1: For the last seven months Maksuda Bibi of Kakdwip is doing the rounds of Kakdwip Police Station, Lalbazar and Bhawani Bhavan. She has also run errands to different parts of the state capital, looking for her 16-year old daughter Majeda, who went missing a year back.
Walking along with hundreds of children and mothers like her in today’s rally for child protection, Maksuda seemed to be still searching frantically for her daughter.
The rally was organised by a group of NGOs, led by Hope Foundation. It had rescued children, parents of lost children and NGO members walking from Subodh Mullick Square to College Square, demanding protection of children in the aftermath of the Nithari killings.
“My neighbours said Majeda is in Kolkata, so whenever I get a chance to come here, I search for her,” Maksuda said. “I hope to meet her somewhere in the streets here. A man from a neighbouring village took her to Kolkata last year after assuring us that she would find a source of living here.
“But there is no news of her. I went to Kakdwip Police Station, and officials there sent me to Bhawani Bhawan and Lalbazar. But my daughter has not returned still.”
“Didi,” she said, pointing towards her sister Meheran Bibi, “said I had to join a rally so that no other child goes missing.” Maksuda said there are many in her village who share the same fate.
Sarbani Das Roy of Hope Foundation questioned the media’s lack of interest in highlighting the plight of the economically deprived. “When the son of Adobe chief was kidnapped (from Noida) two months back the media and police swung into action,” she said. “But did we take the same interest about the forty missing children from Nithari?”
Roy pointed out that most Nithari villagers had migrated from West Bengal and Bihar, and that the situation is not much better even in this state. “There are no proper records, and child trafficking is rising.”
The NGOs taking part in today’s rally pressed for a charter of demands, including registration of all children below 18 at the ward- and panchayat-level. They also sought regular update of such records.
Meanwhile, the NGOs have also launched a campaign for protection of child rights. The first stage of the campaign has been conducted in various schools and colleges from January 17 to 19.

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