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More children forced to work as coronavirus batters India

More than 10 million Indian children between five and 14 toil in farms and factories, or clean restaurant tables and shine shoes, a situation exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

October 07, 2020 / 06:09 PM IST

His hands caked with paint and dust, Aakash looks right at home working at an auto repair shop -- except that he is a minor, one of millions forced into the Indian labour market.

More than 10 million Indian children between five and 14 toil in farms and factories, or clean restaurant tables and shine shoes, a situation exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

AFP this week accompanied Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), a children's rights group whose founder won the Nobel Peace Prize, as it conducted raids together with police in New Delhi.

Early Tuesday, Syed Arshad Mehdi, a 20-year BBA veteran, walked into the auto shop and gently led Aakash (not his real name) out into the morning light.