No news about 6 Musahar kids taken to India for work

Himalayan News Service

Lahan, January 26:

With promises of employment, good money and guarantee of returning in another six months, their kids left for India.

But 18 months have passed since, and there is no news about the six Musahar children who were taken away by a local resident, Sita Sadaya.

The parents and guardians left behind in Siraha’s Taregana Govindpur VDC-9, Balanser, are fraught with worry. “My 15-year-old son was taken with the promise that he would be sent back within six months. Eighteen months have passed and I have no idea where he is,” said Sudawa Sadaya. Along with Sudawa’s son, Sita had taken along with her Debu Sadaya, 12, Lagan Lal Sadaya, 15, Satya Sadaya, 10, Sabur Lal Sadaya, 9, Badri Sadaya, 16, and Bauka Sadaya, 13. Sita too has not returned.

Though the guardians received a letter some time back reportedly written by Debu, they are not convinced that it is from him as according to Debu’s father Bindeshwor Sadaya, he cannot read or write. Debu’s ‘letter’ states that he is working in Hamidpur, Kurukshetra district, of Hariyana, India. Rather than calming them, the letter has added to their worries. There has been a tradition of Mushar children quitting studies and going to Indian states like Punjab to earn money. But, said Bindeshwor, they had gone there “with guardians, and now we are trapped by brokers”. Why not stop sending kids with brokers? “We would starve if we did not send them to work,” he answered. The ongoing conflict has prompted hundreds of children from Lahan area being taken to various Indian cities on false promises, said president of Dalit Welfare Youth Club of Lahan, Binod Bishunkhe, adding trafficking of children has increased, especially of those belonging to poverty stricken families.

According to him, the guardians are paid some money in advance and the children are then bought and sold in a very underhand way. Local residents said Sita had paid Rs 1,350 each to the guardians of the six children. The guardians expressed a desire to go and look for their children at the address in Debu’s ‘letter’, but said they lacked travel expenses.

However, Sunil Shah of the local Lahan Dalit club said, “We will cover all travel expenses if the guardians are ready to leave.”