NHRC issues notices to authorities in J&K and Chhattisgarh in connection with relief, release certificates and rehabilitation of 98 bonded labourers rescued from Samba and Reasi; also asks its DG(I) for an inquiry into the matter (08.01.2018)


New Delhi, 8th January, 2018

The National Human Rights Commission has taken cognizance of a complaint that 98 bonded labourers, rescued from two brick kiln sites in Samba and Reasi districts of Jammu and Kashmir on 28th & 29th of the last month, have neither been given any immediate interim relief nor release certificates as per law and left to fend for themselves. They belong to Bilaspur, Janjgir, Champa, Jaijaipur, Raigarh, Chhattisgarh and include among themselves 20 women and 41 children. Allegedly, the victims were subjected to lathi charge by Delhi Police and some of the victims including pregnant women have sustained injuries.

The Commission has asks its Director General (Investigation) to inquire into the matter and submit a report, within two weeks. The Investigation Division shall also immediately contact the office of the Chief Secretary, Government of NCT of Delhi, Resident Commissioners of Chhattisgarh and J&K in order to see the welfare and wellbeing of the victims till they reach their native places in Chhattisgarh. A report be also obtained from Commissioner of Police, Delhi on use of force by police on the victims.

The Commission also issued a notice to the District Magistrates of Samba and Reasi, J&K, calling upon them to submit the report in accordance with the provisions of the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976 together copies of the release certificates and explanations on the allegations made in the complaint within a period of three days of receipt of the notice.

The District Magistrates of Bilaspur, Janjgir, Champa, Jaijaipur, Raigarh, Chhattisgarh shall also coordinate with the District Magistrates of Samba and Reasi, J&K in order to ensure expeditious rehabilitation of the released bonded labourers. They are expected to submit their report to the Commission within four weeks.

The victims travelled from Jammu to Delhi in pitiable condition, without food and shelter, and approached the Commission with the help of some social activists on the 4th January, 2018.