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NHRC asks Karnataka authorities to ensure release of bonded labourers

The National Human Rights Commission has taken suo motu cognisance of a media report alleging that there are 97 people who cannot extricate themselves from bonded labour in village P Nagnur in Athani taluk in Belgaum district. Issuing notices to the district magistrate and deputy commissioner, Belgaum, Karnataka, the Commission has asked them 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.

They have also been asked to take immediate steps for release and rehabilitation of such bonded labourers. The dated 24 March, 2013 report forwarded by an NGO also alleged that all the 97 labourers had taken advances from the landlords and were made bonded labourers since they were unable to repay the advances because of the high rate of interest charged on these advances by the landlords.  

Last year, they had submitted separate petitions to the deputy commissioner and district magistrate of Belgaum, Chikkodi sub-divisional magistrate and assistant commissioner, and athani tahsildar, besides staging protests and dharnas but the administration has not made any efforts to get them released from bondage.
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