Bihar labourers held hostage in Bhutan, kin seek help

Patna, April 16 (IANS) Family members of 12 Bihar labourers held hostage in Bhutan Tuesday demanded the state government’s intervention for their safe release and return.

Twelve labourers of Ranibari village of Purnia district are held hostage in Bhutan for more than a month. Shocked over their plight, the family members have sought government’s help for their safe return.

“We are upset and worried as several men of this village were forcibly held hostage in Bhutan after they were taken there by promising good job and higher wages,” said Mohammad Sajid, a family member of Mohammad Moin, one of the 12 labourers held hostage in Bhutan.

“Our hope for their wellbeing lies with the Bihar government. It should take the case with Bhutan government,” he said.

Sanjay Mahto, a cose relative of Vijay Mahto, another labourer held hostage in Bhutan, said that the state government should approach the government of Bhutan for the safe release of the labourers.

Mohammad Rahman, one of the labourers who managed to escape and return to his native village, told IANS over telephone that labourers are also tortured and not given proper food.

“Labourers have to work for over 18 hours in a day without adequate food and water. There is no life except work,” he said.

The agent who took the workers to Bhutan is now demanding Rs.6,000 each from their families for their safe release, police said.

“A labourer called his family over mobile phone and told them that they would be eliminated if the amount was not paid to the agent,” a police official said.

Raj Kumar, a district police official, said that a probe has been launched and police are looking for the agent who sent the workers to Bhutan and is now demanding money.

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