MV-79: A teacher in Malkangiri district allegedly has used two of his students in the construction of his house. The assistant teacher has been identified as Mangala Mandal working at the MV-112 school while the children study in the same school. His double storey house is under construction here near the river bank.
It has been alleged that the teacher used the two students to ferry bricks on their heads from one storey to the other. This is punishable by law as child labour is banned. The children were engaged in work which was also endangering their lives as there was live electric wire close to the area where they were working.
As pictures of the students carrying bricks went viral, there was condemnation of the act. Mangala however, feigned ignorance and alleged that a ploy had been hatched to tarnish his image. “I am not aware of the incident. I did not engage any child to carry bricks from one storey to another,” informed Mangala.
“They were playing with a street dog. Then they went inside the house where a mason and labourers were working. May be they asked the children to pass on a couple of bricks to them. That is when someone took pictures to tarnish my image,” Mangala added.
This however is not the first time Mangala has found himself involved in controversy. He was once suspended from service when he was working at MPV-83 upper primary school. At that time, he allegedly was involved in stealing materials for preparation of mid-day meals for students.
Notably, exploitation of children through any form of work – hazardous or otherwise is a punishable offence. A Child is defined as any person below the age of 14 years. It has been alleged that the two children who were carrying bricks were under 14 years of age.