Wednesday, June 14, 2017

India's Bonded Labourers

India banned bonded labour in 1976, but it remains widespread, with millions from the marginalised Dalit and tribal communities working in fields, brick kilns, rice mills, brothels or as domestic workers to pay off debts.

A six-month study by non-profit National Adivasi Solidarity Council, a network for indigenous peoples' welfare, has identified bondage in over 30 farms and plantations in a 15 km (9 mile) radius of the dam in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.

"Most of the families were displaced during the construction of the Aliyar dam and reservoir between 1959 and 1969," said Krishnan Kandasamy, of the council. He added, "These people have suffered for decades. It has to stop immediately."
"They lost their homes, were never compensated and were practically driven into bondage. The state has conveniently forgotten them."
The study states that those in bondage are from the Malasar tribal community and most families lost their land, home, and livelihoods during the construction of the dam and reservoir.
The research teams gained access to the farms on the pretext of conducting medical camps or in some instances saying they were lost and identified more than 50 families, including 73 children living in debt bondage with no access to schools.
"They are not paid minimum wages and do not enjoy basic rights such as the freedom of movement, the freedom of choice of employment and lack of right to education for their children," the study said.
Most of the families had been trapped in bondage to pay off debts that have come down through generations, it added. The new report suggests that they may be more than 1,000 labourers still trapped in the coconut plantations, mango groves and other farms around the town of Pollachi in Tamil Nadu. Security guards on the plantations monitor the labourers and any attempts to escape or make complaints are dealt with brutally, the report said.
Put an end to all slavery:
The World Socialist Party (India): 257 Baghajatin ‘E’ Block (East), Kolkata – 700086,
Tel: 2425-0208,

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