PUCL Bulletin, June 2002

Bonded labourers from Musahar community in danger
People's Vigilance Committee on Human Rights

On the 22nd of April 2002 at around 9 P.M., Rajendra Tiwari and his son Guddu Tiwari caught hold of Bothu and forced him to place his thumb impression on one Stamped Paper and two plain papers. After this Bothu fled his village and came to PVCHR's office on the night of the 23rd and refused to return fearing for his life because on another occasion Tiwari had pushed one bonded labourers from Ranchi into a burning oven of the kiln when the labourer had asked for his right wage.

The Mushahar community consider Tiwari as a very powerful person and cite the example of how he is running a private school in Government Health Centre and how in the recent elections, in spite of media coverage and notices sent to Election Commissioner, no action was taken for his malpractices, thus proving his power. On the 24th, a local Newspaper, Dainik Jagran, published the news of the raid mentioning that on the direction of NHRC the SDM and some labour officials had raided the kiln of R. Tiwari and later an FIR was filed against him at the Phulpur Police Station under IPC 374. One Gaharu complained that Tiwari had paid Bothu Rs.800.00 but claimed that he had paid Rs.1400.00. On the evening of the 24th both Bothu and Gaharu had complained before the SSP who issued orders to the in charge of Phulpur Police Station.

Four women bonded labourers, i.e., Champa Devi w/o Gaharu Musahar, Kismati Devi w/o Waharu Musahar, Hirawati Devi w/o Late Ramavatar Musahar, and Hirawati Devi w/o Bhothu Musahar, all belonging to the village Belwa under police station Phulpur, had signed an Affidavit that they have been working as bonded labourers.

It is now known that there are some 46 men, women, and children from the Age of 6 years to 70 years who are bonded labourers in the kiln of Rajendra Tiwari. Recently four women from the Musahar locality of village Belwa, Prabha Devi w/o Lalli Mushar, Manni Devi w/o Phulchand Musahar, Chanra Devi w/o Makoi Mushar, and Somra Devi w/o Sarnath Mushar petitioned the SSP that when they had gone to the field to do harvesting, one Krishna Murti alias Debloo Singh s/o Daya Shankar Singh not only abused the women but threatened to burn the huts of the Mushar locality with all its inhabitants.

We make the following demands

  • Security to the life of Bothu, Gaharu, and other bonded labourers.
  • Release Certificate to the bonded labourers
  • Rehabilitation of the rescued labourers.

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