NHRC takes up case of 97 made bonded labourers in Karnataka

New Delhi, April 5 (IANS) The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Friday issued notice to authorities in Belgaum district of Karnatka over 97 people being allegedly forced into bonded labour.

“District Magistrate/Deputy Commissioner, Belgaum has been asked to inquire into the issue as per the provisions of Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976 and submit a report to the Commission within three weeks positively,” said a statement from NHRC.

According to news reports, 97 people were forcibly made to work as bonded labourers after they failed to repay the high interest debt they had taken from a landlord.

“They (the Belgaum officials) have also been asked to take immediate steps for release and rehabilitation of such bonded labourers,” the statement added.

Last year, these workers had submitted separate petitions to the district officials and also staged protests but the administration allegedly did not make any efforts to get them released from bondage.

The commission observed that the contents of the press report, if true, raise a serious issue of violation of human rights of the 97 people.

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