The Levies force on Thursday rescued 27 Hindu bonded labourers from the command area of the Mirani Dam in Kech district.
Levies conducted a raid with Kech Deputy Commissioner Mir Yaqoob Marri in the command area of the left canal. The commissioner said 27 Hindu bonded labourers were sent to their native area Mithi in Sindh after they were rescued from the fields.
Mr Marri said the raid was conducted on the basis of a complaint submitted by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP). “Women and children were also among the rescued Hindu bounded laborers,” he said, adding that the feudal lord did not provide enough food and other facilities to the labourers.
“Legal action would be taken against the people responsible for bonded labour,” Mr Marri told Dawn, adding that a total of 45 people were working in the Mirani dam area as bonded labourers.
Zamindar Abdul Wahid rejected the allegation that Hindus were working in the fields as bonded labourers. “They were not bonded labourers. They were working with me on a partnership basis,” Mr Wahid said, adding that they were working in the fields of their own volition.
Mr Wahid claimed that he had lent a loan of Rs400,000 to the labourers on their request. “They staged the drama of having been forced into labour to avoid having to repay the loan,” he said, asserting that they [the labourers] were exploiting the situation in the name of religion and the local administration was biased towards them. “I will approach the court on this matter,” Mr Wahid said.
The Makran HRCP coordinator, Professor Ghani Parwaz, said that the labourers had approached the HRCP Karachi chapter for help, adding that before they were released, efforts were made to resolve the issue but both parties failed to reach any settlement.