Chhattisgarh’s 11 Pahadi Korwa tribals held captive in Bengal

PUBLISHED IN THE TIMES OF INDIA

RAIPUR: Plights of tribals in Jashpur district seem to be endless with yet another incident coming to the fore, where 11 persons and their five children belonging to particularly vulnerable tribal groups have been kept in captivity as slaves by some contractors in West Bengal. The 11 persons belonging to Kamarima village of Bagicha block, include four women.

According to the officials at Jashpur collector office, the family members also tried to contact the contractor under whom the eleven persons were working as bonded labours but initially he didn’t receive their calls and later he told them that all the workers have gone to Assam and Bhutan.

The relatives of these people reported the matter to collector on Friday after they failed to get in touch with their kin. In their statement, the relatives asked collector for probe and launch searching for those who haven’t returned since June.

In their complaint, they said that the two natives Pandito Ram and Labru Ram who work as agents to labour suppliers lured 11 persons for job, good salary and food to work in the brick kiln factory in West Bengal. “But since the time they have gone in June, we could manage to talk to them only twice when they were at some Assam and said they were going to Bhutan. The other time when we talked over the phone they also complained of getting beaten up by the contractors and that they were kept in captivity in some isolated place in WB,” the relatives said.

Collector on Saturday has ordered the police to investigate the case and lodge complaint. Jashpur police said that a team of personnel would now be sent to WB to rescue the tribals in the coming week.

Belonging to the privileged group of PVTGs Pahadi Korwa tribals in Jashpur are mostly exploited as bonded labours in other states like Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Kerala for work in brick kiln and under construction bore wells. In September this year nearly eight minors were sold off to contractors in Tamil Nadu who were later traced in MP.

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