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New Delhi:  The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has taken cognisance of a complaint that 98 bonded labourers rescued from two brick kiln sites in Samba and Reasi districts of Jammu and Kashmir on December 28 & 29, 2017, have neither been given any immediate interim relief nor release certificates as per law and left to fend for themselves. They belong to Bilaspur, Janjgir, Champa, Jaijaipur, Raigarh, Chhattisgarh and include among 20 women and 41 children. They were allegedly subjected to lathicharge by Delhi police and some of them including pregnant women have sustained injuries. 

           The NHRC has asked its Director General (Investigation) to inquire into the matter and submit a report within two weeks.  The Investigation Division shall also immediately contact the office of the Chief Secretary, Government of NCT of Delhi, Resident Commissioners of Chhattisgarh and J&K to ensure the welfare and well being of the victims till they reach their native places in Chhattisgarh.  A report will also be obtained from Commissioner of Police, Delhi, on use of force by police on the victims, according to an NHRC release.  

           The NHRC has also issued a notice to the District Magistrates of Samba and Reasi, J&K, asking them to submit the report in accordance with the provisions of the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976, together with the copies of the release certificates and explanations on the allegations made in the complaint within a period of three days of receipt of the notice.

The District Magistrates of Bilaspur, Janjgir, Champa, Jaijaipur, Raigarh, Chhattisgarh shall also co-ordinate with the District Magistrates of Samba and Reasi, J&K, to ensure expeditious rehabilitation of the released bonded labourers.  They are expected to submit their report to the Commission within four weeks. The victims travelled from Jammu to Delhi in pitiable condition without food and shelter and approached the Commission with the help of some social activists on January 4, 2018.

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