Taking suo-motu notice of the Hindustan Times report "Freed labourers fight for justice" that appeared on April 4, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Monday sought an explanation from the Deputy Commissioner (DC) Sonipat.
"NHRC has asked the DC to submit comments along with explanation as to why release certificates were not issued to the bonded labourers, taking suo-motu cognisance in a distressing news item that appeared in the Hindustan Times," NHRC sources said. The DC has been asked to submit an explanation within two weeks, sources added.
The report had pointed out how 65 men, women and children were allegedly held captive at a brick kiln in Sonipat, Haryana for months and then released last month. The labourers are mostly Dalits from Jhanjgir districts in Chhatisgarh. After being rescued, the labourers launched a struggle to get the district administration to act on their complaints and get the owners of the brick kiln where they were allegedly bonded, booked. The administration had refused to issue release certificates to the labourers.
NHRC sources said a complaint has also been received in the Commission on the same incident. "The complainant alleged that despite repeated pleas made to DC on the need to take immediate steps he did not visit the spot to record the statements or delegate the SDM to check the fact as per the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976. It is further alleged that the DC showed utter dereliction and indifference towards his duty under Bonded Labour System (Abolition Act) 1976," sources added.