Tinsukia: A 13-year-old boy’s neck and back were burnt by boiling water, and physically assaulted allegedly by a doctor, formerly with Assam Medical College & Hospital, in Assam’s Dibrugarh district.
The minor, engaged illegally as domestic help in April 2019, was rescued by Child Welfare Committee Dibrugarh and taken to AMCH for treatment on August 29.
Talking to this correspondent, the member of the child welfare committee, Arpana Borah said, the incident took place on August 27 when the minor was sleeping on the floor. “The doctor, Siddhi Prasad Deori, poured hot water on him. As a result, he sustained burn injuries.”
“Based on information about a domestic help being employed at the house and tortured, a team of district child welfare committee accompanied by members of Childline and police rescued the minor on August 29,” added Borah.
The rescue wasn’t an easy one. She added “The owners demanded a court warrant to take away the child and tried to stop us from enacting our duty. Later they were reminded that the members of the child welfare committee are equal to a bench of a magistrate when it comes to rescuing a minor and we rescued the child forcefully.”
“On August 31, after treatment, we recorded the statement of the minor where he told us that the doctor poured hot water on him and later gave him some medicines. They used to beat him very often and tortured him in the past as well,” Borah said, adding, “We immediately filed a complaint against the husband and wife.”
Borah said, the minor, who was supposed to take care of the dogs and clean five cars, hailed from upper Deori village in Jorhat district.
What is the law on Child labour?
In India, child labour is classified into two categories – child (below 14 years) and adolescents (between 14-18 years).
It is illegal for any person to employ or allow children under the age of 14 in any form of occupation except as a child artist or a family business.
The Child Labour Amendment (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 2016, inter alia, provides for a complete prohibition on employment or work of children below 14 years and also prohibits employment of adolescents (14-18 years) in hazardous occupations and processes.
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Punishment under the Child Labour Amendment Act
The punishment for employing a child is imprisonment between six months and two years and/or a fine between Rs 20,000.00 and Rs 50,000.00
According to sources, a day after the FIR was filed, a team of Dibrugarh police went to the residence of the accused. “The doctor informed the police that he is a cancer patient. Finding the doctor on a saline drip, the team asked him to present himself at the police station for investigation.”
“The next day when he did not turn up, the team went to his home and found them missing,” the source added.
Superintendent of Dibrugarh police Thube Prateek Vijaykumar said, the police raided the residence of the accused and found them missing. “A manhunt has been launched to arrest them.”
A case has been filed and investigations are underway, he added.