Karnataka shocker: 52 Dalits and Tribals rescued after being confined for years in inhuman conditions as bonded labourers

The captives were all migrant workers who were lured by the accused from railway stations and bus stands. They were then made to live and work in inhuman conditions without any payment.

In a shocking development, reports of 52 Dalits and Tribals enslaved for 3 years in the Congress-ruled Karnataka has surfaced. News 18 has reported that the Dalits and Tribals were finally rescued from a farm in Hasan when one of them managed to escape his confinement and reported the atrocity to the local police.

The police has arrested one of the prime accused Munesha in this regard. Munesha has been accused of running an organised human trafficking racket. As per reports, Munesha overlooked the operations of luring poor and jobless migrant workers from places like Bengaluru Railway Station and Bus stands by promising them jobs and wages. Two auto drivers were reportedly employed to lure the migrant workers.

These migrant workers were then sent to a farm where they were stripped, their identity documents were taken away and they were confined by Munesha and his associates. According to Police, the accused identified are Munesha who was the main operator of the farm, Krishnegowda who was the owner of the land where the farm was located, and three other persons named Basavaraja, Pradeep and Nagaraja.

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As per the report, Dalits and Tribals lured by Munesha’s men were confined in a farm against their wishes and were forced to work and live in inhuman conditions. They were made to toil for 19 hours a day with no wages. They were given three meals a day as their ‘payment’. They were also forcibly transported to different worksites from the farm. Men were harassed and women were subjected to sexual exploitation. When they showed any resistance, they were horsewhipped and flogged by their handlers. The group consists of old men and children too. All were made to serve as bonded labourers for 3 long years without payment.

All 52 captives were reportedly confined in one shed with a pipe in a corner to use for a toilet. Four guards manned the shed at night to prevent escapes. The captives were made to work in brick kilns and farms.

The police were informed of the atrocity when one of the captives reportedly scaled a 12-feet wall and escaped to reach the local police station. The captives included 16 women and 4 children. The police have also seized the two vehicles used by Munesha to transport the migrant workers from one workplace to another. An FIR has been registered under sections 323, 324 (wrongful confinement), 344 (theft), 356 (sexual harassment) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) Bonded Labour System (Abolition Act) and the SC, ST (Prevention of Atrocities Act). The police have arrested two people in the case.

The report quoted the police officials of suspecting that there might be other such cases in the area.

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