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Posted at: Jun 14, 2018, 12:14 AM; last updated: Jun 14, 2018, 12:14 AM (IST)

23 bonded labourers rescued in Lahaul-Spiti

Dipender Manta

Tribune News Service

Mandi, June 13

As many as 23 bonded labourers, engaged as domestic helps, were rescued by the district administration in the tribal district of Lahaul-Spiti on Tuesday.

The district administration’s team led by Amar Negi, Subdivisional Magistrate (SDM), Keylong, conducted raids in Pattan valley and recovered 23 labourers from the spot.

Out of the 23 labourers, 13 were adults. They said they were working as domestic helps on their own will, while the remaining 10 expressed their grievances with the team.

According to sources, Zahid Hussain, Justice Venture India Trust, New Delhi, had written a complaint to the Secretary, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), New Delhi, on June 1, saying that a few young children were engaged as bonded labourers in the tribal district of Lahaul and Spiti for the past few months.

The complaint prompted the NHRC to ask the district administration to find out the truth. DC Ashwani Kumar Chaudhari constituted a team under the SDM, Keylong, who conducted raids at suspected places. Some of the victims have been identified as Halender Manjhi, Dalip Manjhi, Vikas Kumar, Kamlesh Manjhi, Sikender, Dharmender, Santosh, Gautam Kumar and Guddu. The police have registered a case under Section 370 and 374 of the IPC and Section 16 of the Bonded Labour Act, 1976. The police said the age of some of the labourers was yet to be ascertained. The DC confirmed the report and said a case was registered and the police are recording the statements of the victims.

He said after thorough investigation, action would be taken accordingly against the accused. However, a majority of the victims said they were working here on their own will.

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