This Article is From Apr 21, 2011

Moin's tragedy, India's shame

New Delhi: Brutally beaten to death, allegedly by his employer, 10-year-old Moin's story made national headlines. However, three days later, his body still lies unclaimed.

Moin's mother, far away in the village of Madhubani in Bihar, is bewildered. The helpless mother cries, and grieves for her son who died. Her other son is missing as well.

Moin's brother, 11-year-old Jameel, according to the police is still with the man who killed his brother.

The brothers had come to Delhi to work at a bindi factory. Their father, a factory worker, is still in Mumbai.

At the bindi factory, the brothers' little fingers were used to do the decorative fine work.

"Child labourers in Delhi are mainly used in embroidery units because it requires intricate work which they can do best," said Rakesh Sengar, an activist.

Activists working for the abolition of child labour tell NDTV that the Indian decorative products industry employing child labour is worth $ 600 million. To keep costs down, small units employ children who work in miserable conditions.

As the police search for the missing kids, neither the Child Welfare Minister nor the Delhi Chief Minister knew of Moin's story, despite the fact that it has been headlined by television channels and newspapers.

NDTV to Sheila Dikshit: A specific case of a 10-year-old boy, who was working in a bindi unit and who died, and now his younger brother is also missing. Ma'am this is a shocking incident, how would you.. (Sheila interrupts)

Sheila Dikshit: The police would be aware of it. You just told me now. Whatever has to be done, the police will act upon it.

NDTV: Ma'am, there are five lakh child labourers in Delhi. Do you think the government is doing enough to control?

Sheila Dikshit: Please, we are doing whatever we can, but I can't answer you just now.

Now, faced with pressure, Krishna Tirath, the Women and Child Development Minister, has agreed to visit a place where child labour is being employed.

In a two-room sweatshop in Northwest Delhi, Moin worked 15 hours a day. He was taken as an apprentice and was given food for his services.

His uncle, Kalimuddin, was a relentless taskmaster. On Saturday, he allegedly hit Moin repeatedly. Another child who worked at the same sweatshop says he saw Kalimuddin banging Moin's head against the wall.

It's not clear yet how much later Moin died.