Orissa: Hands of 2 labourers chopped off

Hands of two labourers in Kalahandi district were allegedly chopped by middlemen on Sunday evening after they refused to travel to Chhattisgarh for work.

Two labour contractors (locally known as sardars) from neighbouring Nuapada district hired Nilambar Dhangda Majhi, 28, Bialu Majhi, 22, and 10 other labourers of Nuagaon village in Jaypatna block a few months ago for work in Hyderabad. Each one of them was paid Rs 10,000.

They started journey to Hyderabad in a Bolero but midway turned towards Chhattisgarh. "When the agents changed direction, the labourers got suspicious. As the vehicle neared Belpara village, 10 of them fled on the pretext of answering nature's call. The furious contractors chopped the right hands of Nilambar and Dhangda, who could not run away," said Bhawanipatna police inspector Satya Nanda.

He said the two injured labourers reached Bhawanipatna, around 40 km from Belpara, in a bus Monday morning.

"They got themselves admitted at the district hospital. They have lost a lot of blood and are not in a position to talk much. As soon as they recover, we will get details of the assailants and arrest them," the inspector said.

"Every year after harvest, farmers go to Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh to do menial jobs. They stay there for 3-4 months and return in summer," Nanda said.

Kalahandi district collector B K Upadhyay said he was not aware of the incident but promised action against the accused.

For four decades, distress migration by labourers has been a regular feature in Kalahandi, Nuapada and Bolangir districts. Last year, NGO Aide et Action conducted a micro-level study on vulnerability and migration in Bolangir, Kalahandi and Nuapada villages and found small and marginal farmers were migrating due to failure to repay loans.

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