Evidences of prevalence of the illegal practice of bonded labour were observed some days ago in Morena district of Madhya Pradesh, where 52 labourers from Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh were working as bonded labourers including children and women. They were freed on February 22 and 23, 2013 by the Jan Sahas under the “The Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act 1976”. Thereafter, they were given “released certificate” and immediate relief amount and the process of their rehabilitation in Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh has begun. These workers were being used as bonded labourers by the brick manufacturers of Morena, Madhya Pradesh.

Six workers of Chhattisgarh ran away in January after being exploited by two brick manufacturers of Jalalpur village (Thana Jaura) of Morena called Rinku Tyagi and Mahavir Tyagi. Family members of workers filed a police complaint against this in their village Barbhatha which comes in the district of Jaanjgeer. The Superintendent of Police (SP) of Jaanjgeer informed Morena police about this matter on January 19, 2013 but no action was taken against the culprits. When Jan Sahas was informed about this, it’s activist of Centre Social Justice and Equality and Bonded Labour Liberation Campaign raided the work place along with the police and liberated 22 workers. 22 more workers were freed the next day by raiding one more place nearby, while 8 labourers got freedom the other day.

The liberated workers belong to Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. After talking to them, we came to know that labourers were sold to Rinku Tyagi and Mahavir Tyagi in October 2012 by a contractor called Daataram in three lakh rupees.

These labourers told us that they had to work from 6 o’clock in the morning till 9 o’clock in the evening and each worker was paid Rs. 400 to 500 in 15 days to month. Many a times they had to work empty stomach, while they were beaten and threatened too. Rinku Tyagi kept an eye on the labourers and they were kept under vigilance even at night. Women bonded labourers were in a pitiable condition and they were not left alone even for using toilets. They were not allowed to go to market while their children were also forced to work. These labourers were enduring this inhuman behavior for the past 4-5 months.

We got these workers liberated and gave “released certificate” through the district administration including immediate relief amount. These workers have now moved to their villages in Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh where we are trying for their rehabilitation with the help of local organizations. Dialogue with the local administration is also being made.

Times of India: http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-02-24/bhopal/37269558_1_labourers-brick-kiln-joura