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Utrecht, 18 June 2004
Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav
Chief Minister, Government of Uttar Pradesh
Fax: 00-91-11-2239234

Honorable Chief Minister,

It is with great anguish and concern that we learnt about the brutal attack on Kailash Satyarthi, chairperson of the Global March Against Child Labour and SACCS, and of number of his fellow-activists who were trying to rescue a number of children from a circus in Colonelganj Tehsil of Gonda District in Uttar Pradesh on 15 June 2004. The group led by Satyarthi was acting on the basis of complaints of eleven parents.

We were very shocked to learn that representatives of the district administration present at the scene connived with the attackers and acted as mute spectators when the attack on Satyarthi and his colleagues was perpetrated.

We were informed on June 17th that only two of the circus owners have been arrested and that the others are still at large. On the 17th of June no case had been filed yet for the clear threat and attempt to murder Kailash Satyarthi.
We also learnt that the children have not been released from the circus so far, as they are still under police custody in the circus. One of the girls has reported that she was gang-raped in the circus over the last few months, which was confirmed by a medical examination. Other girls did not speak yet out of fear.

We strongly support the demands put forward by Kailash Satyarthi for:
  • Immediate release and a medical examination of all the girls from the circus and safe repatriation to their parents in Nepal.
  • The Government of India taking the responsibility for their rehabilitation.
  • An investigation by the government of the condition of the children in circuses in the country.
  • Suspension of and legal action against the guilty officials of the district administration.
We trust that you, Mr. Mulayam Singh Yadav, will do your utmost as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh to see to it that steps are taking to put these legitimate demands into action.

Yours respectfully,

Gerard Oonk
Co-ordinator, on behalf of the India Committee of the Netherlands

India Committee of the Netherlands / Landelijke India Werkgroep - June 18, 2004