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Young Kolkata footballers forced into child labour at camp in Karnataka

Published at :December 15, 2023 at 12:10 AM
Modified at :December 27, 2023 at 5:36 PM
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(Courtesy : India Today)

Yash Pratap Singh

The footballers have now been rescued back to Kolkata.

In a shocking turn of events, 10 young Kolkata-based footballers have been forced to indulge in scrubbing dishes, washing clothes, sweeping floors, and various other chores in the name of playing football in Bengaluru.

Background story

According to India Today, 10 young footballers departed Kolkata to take part in the Karnataka State Youth League and represent the Black Panther Total Football Club. The kids began their journey at the Sonarpur Dynamic Sports Academy in South Kolkata. 

The kids were supposed to be a part of the camp for four months, but they had to flee after just one month because they were forced into child labour instead of playing football. They were assigned to wash the dishes and utensils, not just theirs, but also those belonging to other individuals and coaches involved with the club. 

Moreover, they were also made to wash clothes in large quantities and cook for others. It is also being said that they were subjected to beatings and treated as labourers and not footballers. They were also not allowed to contact their families.

Authorities step in

After the case came into the notice of the Kolkata football club, they made numerous attempts to release these footballers. They lodged complaints at various branches of the Kolkata Police. 

The Indian Football Association (IFA) also stepped into the scene with Secretary Anirban Dutta and Vice President Sourav Paul providing support in rescuing the children from such a hazardous environment.

The young footballers speak

One of the young footballers, Subhodip Kundu shared with India Today that they played very little and were made to work more. “We played very little. We worked more. We were utilized as cooks. We washed clothes, swept and polished the floors of every room, and even cleaned the bathrooms.”

Ishan Laskar, a 12-year-old said that he was very scared because they were not allowed to come back home. “I was extremely frightened. They wouldn’t allow us to return home. They demanded twenty thousand rupees from each of us if we wanted to leave for home.”

He also mentioned that the players were physically assaulted and the food was of substandard quality. “We were also physically assaulted. The food provided was inadequate and of poor quality.”

The children have now been rescued and have returned to Kolkata.

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