88 bonded labourers rescued from brick kiln in SBS Nagar
A bonded labourer Roshan told the team that Lokesh brought and forced them to work here without giving them any wages for the last 11 months against a loan of ₹5,000 which Lokesh gave to each family as advance.punjab Updated: Jul 25, 2017 15:41 IST
A joint team of members from the National Campaign Committee for Eradication of Bonded Labour (NCCEBL), Haryana State Child Rights Protection Commission (SCPCR) and the district administration rescued 22 Dalit families comprising 88 people (34 men, 29 women, 20 working children and 5 non-working children) from Bajaj Brick Kiln in Mujjafarpur village of Rahon town in the district on Monday, according to a press release of the NCCEBL.
Members of the committee, as per the press release, included Nirmal Gorana, NCCEBL convener, Haryana SCPCR member Paramjit Singh Badola, district child protection officer Kanchan Arora, tehsildar Navpreet Singh, Rashpal Singh Jgadla, Sadar police station, Vikas Khatkar and Shivam Kataria from the Socio Legal Information Centre, Delhi. The team found that labour contractor Lokesh and the employer Vivek were forcing labourers to work without pay.
The team claimed that labourers were not allowed leave also. They were being allegedly forced to do ‘begaar’ which is a violation of the Right to Life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. The labourers were also living in deplorable conditions, the release said.
The living conditions of these workers are pathetic and were exposed to serious illness due to the unhygienic conditions, as stated in the release.
A bonded labourer Roshan told the team that Lokesh brought and forced them to work here without giving them any wages for the last 11 months against a loan of ₹5,000 which Lokesh gave to each family as advance.
A woman worker Nita stated that she and others have been victims of discrimination in their native village because of which they migrated to Punjab but to her distress, equality, dignity, and respect is nowhere to be found.
Another bonded labourer Deep Chand highlighted the larger problem of lack of work in his village and in other villages of Uttar Pradesh because of which labourers are forced to migrate to other places.
The NCCEBL requested the deputy commissioner immediately to issue release certificates, payment of all dues with 18% interest and all should be repatriated to their respective home under police protection and further registration of FIR under section 370 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), section 16, 17, 18 of the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act 1976 and Inter-State Migrant Workman's Act, 1979 and The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 against the guilty.
The NCCEBL had also rescued 8 bonded labourers from the same brick kiln in January.