'Condemn child labour and allow us to pursue education', protest slum children of Patna
Children, under the aegis of 'Prayas Bharti Trust,' a voluntary group, raised slogans against those who engage child labour.
"Child labour must be stopped. Every child should be enrolled in schools so that he would become a doctor or engineer," said Santosh Kumar, a protester.
Despite the 1986 Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, child labour is still rampant in India due to extreme poverty.
Organisers said the purpose of the protest was to spread awareness on child education.
"The main purpose behind organising such protest is to spread awareness regarding child education. Instead of sending these slum children to brick kilns, restaurants and other places, parents must send them to schools so that they would become good citizens. These slum children are normal like our kids and have full right to receive education," said Dipika, a counsellor with Prayas Bharti Trust.
There are about 18 million street children and 22 million labourers in India. Nearly 20 per cent of the children between the age group of 6-14 years have no access to primary education.
According to human rights groups, many children have been working since the age of four or five, and by the time they reach adulthood, they may be irrevocably sick or deformed.
International agencies contend that there are far too many loopholes in the law on trafficking in children, making it difficult to root out child labour.