Bonded labours who were leading a treacherous life under a plantation owner finally breathed a sigh of relief as they were saved by a group of policemen led by superintendent A N Prakash Gowda in Karnataka’s Hassan taluk. The personnel rescued 52 labours including four children and 17 women belonging from various districts and states like Telangana and Andhra Pradesh after conducting a raid at Savanthahalli on Sunday, December 16. The Police personnel have arrested three people regarding the case and are continuing the investigation. Reportedly, cases have been registered under physical assault and violation of labour laws.
How did they raid the plantation?
SP Prakash Gowda speaking to The Logical Indian said, “They were forcibly keeping the workers under their wings and who were working for them for nearly two to three years. Among these labours, a guy named Krishnappa escaped from their clutches, the family members asked the help of police to rescue him.”
The police said the plantation was owned by Krishnegowda, a resident from Bengaluru, who had rented it out to Mounesh and his associates Basavaraj, who allegedly lure these labours from the railway station who are in need of jobs. They lure them with the promise of providing high wages. The plight of the labourers came to the fore after one labourer from Chikkamagaluru went missing from his home.
Victims of Bonded labour
One of the worker Ganesh from Tamil Nadu, residing in bhadravati said to The Hindu that he was offered a job to load tomatoes into the truck for Rs 500 a day when he landed at the railway station in Arsikere. But when he followed them, the person took the worker to Savanthahalli.
According to the SP who conducted the raid along with Deputy Superintendent of Police and Sub Inspector said that these labourers were confined in a single room and were watched under strict vigilance. They were not even allowed to go out to pass urine, and if they have to, they were sent along with their trusted aids.
As per Times of India, a victim named Ramesh was beaten by iron rods and added that children below 12 years of age were fed once in the morning. Although there are stringent laws like Bonded Labour (Abolition) act 1956, still people are lured in the name of work and are sent to a different plantation.
State of Bonded labourers in Karnataka
According to Human rights activist Shivaparsanna, around 3900 bonded labours are rescued in Karnataka. And they are placed in different rehabilitation centres, where they are given works in agriculture sectors.
When The Logical Indian Contacted him, he said, “Bonded labourers are brought through middlemen, where they promise these people to give them work. In return sell them to plantation owners, who treat them in an impolite way, recently we rescued such labourers from Orissa, and it is the responsibility of the state government to prioritise them regarding subsidy and compensation for these labourers.”
The Logical Indian Take
However, this is not the first case of rescued bonded labourers in Hassan, as per the information provided by SP Prakash Gowda, there have been cases occurred before in the district. According to activist Shivaprassana, if the centre introduces labour tracking system in every state, it would be of great help to these labourers. The Logical Indian urges the authorities to look into the matter and prosecute those who are found to be guilty.
Also Read: Karnataka: Kept As Bonded Labourers, Woman Gives Birth To Two Kids Without Any Help