33-year-old Rehana Begum, a resident of Purnia district in Bihar, had to pay the price of marrying the man she loves. She was homeless, as her parents and in-laws threw the couple out of their house in 2013.
The experience left them with no other choice than going to Delhi, in search of livelihood to sustain themselves. But life had different plans for Rehana. She came in contact with one Delhi Development Authority (DDA) contractor named Sonu. Sonu lured Rehana into cleaning a DDA park in Dwarka, Sector 7. Rehana, unknowingly, fell victim to slavery and became a bonded labour.
It’s been more than two years now, Rehana works in the park for almost 20 hours a day without any wages. Once or twice a month, Sonu provides her with some money between Rs 1,000 and Rs 2,000, which is all she gets. She has been working with utter helplessness expecting that someday she will get the money she deserves. She can’t leave on her own because she has been threatened with dire consequences.
Her story reached Mr Nirmal Gorana, Convener of National Campaign Committee for Eradication of Bonded Labour (NCCEBL). Mr Gorana immediately tried to seek action and requested the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) of Dwarka to accompany their team and rescue her.
According to Nirmal, he wrote to SDM Dwarka’s office, where they blatantly denied to take the cognizance of the issue. This, it is being alleged is because of the SDM’s ties with the contractor. Nirmal, then knocked on District Magistrate – South-West Delhi’s office to appeal for justice.
When The Logical Indian contacted the DM – South West Delhi, Abhishek Dev, he said, “I am not aware of the matter. So, I cannot comment. Please contact SDM Dwarka for details,” and disconnected the call.
Mr Gorana went to the site to meet Rehana on 8 February, where she was found cleaning a small toilet compound comprising two small rooms with total floor area of around 12 square meters each. Rehana was working way more than the time that is registered in Bonded Labour (Abolition) Act.
Due to the apathy of the administration, Rehana is forced to live in slavery as only promises have been made and no action has been taken yet. Her health is deteriorating. She is living with the hope of gaining freedom.
The Logical Indian urges the SDM to immediately intervene in the matter and rescue Rehana.