UP tops in bonded labour cases: NHRC

Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana are the top three states from where maximum cases of bonded labour have been reported in the past 18 years — since the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) came into existence.

According to data released by the NHRC on Friday, 1,300 cases of human rights violations pertaining to bonded labour were reported from Uttar Pradesh followed by Punjab (465) and Haryana (425).

Delhi stood at the ninth position with 45 such cases.

NHRC member Justice B C Patel said not much was being done to address the issue of bonded labour as the bureaucracy and the police were not taking it seriously.

"Police, Sub Divisional Magistrate, Collectors and employers have joined hands with the mafia indulging in bonded labour. The mindset of government officers and bureaucrats must change. The Supreme Court has asked the NHRC to look into the cases of bonded labour but we face resistance from the government officials," said Patel.

He said there were many cases which were pending, some reported way back in 2000. "In 2005-06 as many as 167 child labourers were rescued from a mine at Bellary in Karnataka, the case is yet to reach any conclusion although the district magistrate convicted nine employers," he said.

More than 100 cases were reported from Rajasthan and around 60 cases from Karnataka. From the Northeast, six cases were reported from Arunachal Pradesh while Assam, Meghalaya and Mizoram reported one case each.

"These figures are not indicative of the number of people affected by bonded labour cases in these states. Though a large number of cases may have been reported from a particular state but those affected may range between 15-5000 persons," said Patel.

The data released by NHRC said that over 40 per cent of the 2,800 bonded labour cases which were reported to the commission are yet to be solved.

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