149 slaves — 34 of them children — freed at India brick kiln
The Hindu reports:
As many as 149 bonded labourers, including 34 children, from Orissa who have been made to slog for over 22 hours a day in a brick kiln at Ramakrishnapuram hamlet of Penchikalapahad village have been freed following a raid by Sub-Collector Divya on Tuesday night.
She acted following a complaint lodged by the Delhi-based NGO International Justice Mission, and Jana Jagruti Samsthan. Some of the pregnant women labourers were beaten while working.
She told The Hindu that the bonded labourers, some of whom were badly beaten up, were brought to the village by brothers Gugolath Narasimha and Gugolath Lachiram, contractors, after paying huge amounts. A labourer who was assaulted by the brick kiln operator, boldly lodged a complaint with a representative o f Jana Jagruti, who brought the issue to her notice.
The liberated labourers, including 54 women, were lodged in local ST hostel. They will be sent back to Orissa by a special bogey, attached to Visakha Express on Thursday. Each labourer will be given a relief certificate.
Narasimha and Lachiram have been detained by the Bhongir Rural Police. Investigation is on to find out at whose instance they had acted. Some of them were treated at the Bhongir Area Hospital for injuries sustained while working.
The labourers who hail from districts of Gulamgir, Bargarh and Bhoodlabazar district will be sent to Napoda en route to their onward journey.
Anu George, director of the NGO, praised Ms. Divya for working right through the night to complete the task on hand.’
She has been very cooperative.’ Ms. George said her organisation has liberated about 5,000 bonded labourers in different parts of the country.