INVESTIGATION - Blood Mica: Deaths of child workers in India's mica "ghost" mines covered up to keep industry alive

by Nita Bhalla, Rina Chandran and Anuradha Nagaraj | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Wednesday, 3 August 2016 00:01 GMT
In the depths of India's illegal mica mines, where children as young as five work alongside adults, lurks a dark, hidden secret - the cover-up of child deaths

Vasdev Rai Pratap's 16-year-old son Madan was killed in a mica mine along with two other adult workers in the state of Jharkhand on June 23.

"I didn't know how dangerous the work in the mines is. Had I known, I would never have let him go," said Pratap, sitting on a charpoy - a traditional woven bed - outside his home, surrounded by friends and family who had come to mourn the teen's death.

"They said it took almost a day to dig out his body after the mine collapsed. They cremated him without telling me. I didn't even see my boy before they set him alight."

His son is one of seven children found to have been killed in the past two months alone mining for mica, a crystalline mineral used to put the sparkle in lipstick, eye shadows and car paint.

Blood Mica
Deaths of child workers in India's mica "ghost" mines covered up to keep industry alive
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