When children become the currency to repay a loan, something must be terribly, terribly wrong. Three months ago, a 13-year-old girl and her six-year-old sister, the first and third among five girl children, were left at the house of a man from whom their parents had borrowed Rs 34,000 nine months ago. They were unable to repay, so they gave the children in exchange, as surety, till such time that they would try and get the money.
"My mother gave me Rs 20 and said they would come and take us later," said the teenager. She and her younger sister have been at the home of an ironsmith in Mahatipur village in Karimnagar district, where they worked like bonded labour for the ironsmith.
Villagers who noticed the children being badly abused complained to the police. The teenager has told the cops that she was sexually abused by the ironsmith when his wife was away.
The ironsmith admits the parents left the children with him because they could not repay the loan that now amounts to Rs 45,000. He, however, denies sexually exploiting the child.
"I looked after them like my own children. They are saying wrong things. The parents said they were not able to repay the money. So I should keep the children till then," he says.
A case of wrongful confinement, outraging modesty and under the Bonded Labour Act has been filed. The children have been handed over to the child welfare committee. They will now be taken to a government-run child welfare school-cum-hostel in Karimnagar. The parents of the girls are being contacted.HOW YOU CAN HELP
If you want to help the two girls, you can send cheques or demand drafts in the name of: Meena and Uma (C/O District Collector, Karimnagar District)
State Bank of Hyderabad, Pragati Bhavan branch, Nizamabad Account Number:
Pragati Bhavan, Ntr X Roads, Nizamabad-503102FOR ONLINE TRANSACTIONS:IFSC Code:
(Since the girls are minors, the amount will be released when they reach the age of 18 years, along with interest accrued.)Note:
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