A glaring violation of rights of tribal students

While Union Minister of Rural Development Jairam Ramesh waxed eloquent on the need to empower the tribals and improve their education to stop them from getting attracted to the path of extremism and Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy declared his Government’s commitment to welfare of schoolchildren in launching a special scheme of their medical and health – Rajeev Bala Sanjeevani – schoolchildren were carrying buckets of water to be used by visiting officials and media. The venue of the Giri Pragati Sadassu attended by two Union ministers, the Chief Minister and a number of his Cabinet colleagues was swarming with police, officials and other employees. The district administration, the police and all other protectors of the child rights were also present in full strength. However, the public servants were busy attending on the VIPs while the future citizens sweated it out in the sun carrying water to fill the drums to be used by visiting officials and media to wash their hands.

The children of the AP Tribal Welfare Residential School here, who would qualify as child labour, were seen carrying buckets of water in pairs for nearly half a kilometre, worse they were walking barefoot on the road and thistles carrying 20 litres at a time. Ironically the meeting, ostensibly organised for the welfare of the tribals, saw tribals doing work that should have been entrusted to employees or hired labour.

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