After the five fled and approached the district administration, the authorities rushed the spot where the workers were held and rescued 20 people, including 11 minors.
The labourers said that 15 of them were taken to a temple to make them confess in front of the deity as to who spilt the jaggery. There, five of them were forced to collect coins from a container of hot oil, said officials of Raghogarh police station where the case is registered.
Roman Kanjar, the accused, used to give the workers two meals a day and ₹25,000 once a year. Some of the men worked as labourers on his fields. The police have arrested Kanjar, reported The Indian Express.
Raju Sheriya, one of the five who fled, said those who denied to pick up coins were beaten up. The day after the incident he fled along with four others. They met Narendra Bhadoriya, district chairman of the Bonded Labour Liberation Front, who then contacted the district administration. After that, a team of officials rescued 16 people, including 11 minors and five women.
Bhadoriya said that a government investigation has identified 60 people in forced labour in Guna district. "At least 5,000 people are working under such conditions. Many of those who are rescued have no choice but to return to such inhuman labour practices, as the government has failed to recuperate them and give them jobs," Bhadoriya said.
According to Akshay Kumar Temrawal, Subdivisional Officer of Raghoghar, 15 of the rescued were bonded labourers working below the minimum wages and were not allowed to take a leave. All of them have been sent to their home. The government will provide them with ₹20,000 for rehabilitation.
"We are awaiting for the medical report and based on its rulings, more sections will be added against Kanjar," said Raghoghar police station official MM Malvia.