After 5 days of struggle, 39 trafficked bonded labourers rescued from Faridabad brick kiln site

After five days of struggle, around 39 bonded labourers who in January 2019 were trafficked from Chhatisgarh to a brick kiln site in Faridabad were freed today. These labourers were bonded in the Mahendra Kumar Brick Kiln in Faridabad and were physically beaten and verbally abused. They were not paid any wages and were also not provided with clean drinking water. The employer subjected the trafficked labours with burn injuries. The brick kiln owner had put a restriction on their movement as well. They were not allowed to leave the site. One of these bonded labourers then approached the National Campaign Committee for Eradication of Bonded Labourers (NCCEBL) with a request to rescue and rehabilitate them on 18 April 2019. NCCEBL then approached the Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Balabhgarh for the same, however, the SDM shouted and ousted the bonded labourers. Subsequently, NCCEBL, HRLN approached the DC of Faridabad and also filed a writ petition in the High Court of Chandigarh to give directions to the DC in this case as per the provisions of the Bonded Labour System Abolition Act 1976 and the Central Sector Scheme for Rehabilitation of Bonded Labourers 2016. Today after much effort, a team of the local administration of Ballabgarh, Faridabad police, National Campaign Committee for Eradication of Bonded Labourers (NCCEBL), Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) and Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) went to rescue the labourers from the brick kiln premises. The labourers were then forced to sign an incorrect statement. After much verbal/violent confrontation with the employer’s goons and the employer, the labourers have now been rescued and are being taken to the DC office. NCCEBL has now requested the SHO Chhaisa (Faridabad district), the DC office Faridabad and the Police Commissioner Faridabad to record a video statement of the labourers, repatriate them to their home state, provide them with the release certificate and interim monetary relief as per the Central Sector Scheme for Rehabilitation of Bonded Labourers 2016 and also provide them with immediate temporary shelter. Finally, the Chandigarh High Court in writ petition number CRNP-387 of 2019 today directed that the Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Faridabad for the rescue and rehabilitation of 45 bonded labourers from a brick kiln in Balabhgarh district of Faridabad.