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MHA letter on bonded labour incorrect: Punjab CM

Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Sunday said the MHA’s letter on farmers indulging in bonded labour and converting them into drug addicts to make them work for long hours was factually incorrect.

He was reacting to the Ministry of Home Affair’s (MHA) letter claiming the BSF had apprehended 58 persons in 2019 and 2020 from the border areas of Punjab, and the detainees had purportedly revealed that they were working as bonded labourers.The MHA should have checked the facts and verified the information from the state government instead of making false accusations, the CM said, adding neither the data nor the said reports submitted by the BSF authorities were in tune with the content of the letter.

“The MHA letter talks of Abohar also while the fact is that there is no case from Abohar and Fazilka districts,” the CM pointed out.

He said of the 58 detainees, four belonged to Punjab and three of them were intellectually disabled. One Paramjit Singh, a Patiala resident, was mentally unstable for the past more than 20 years and had left his home about two months before his detention.

Roorh Singh, a Gurdaspur resident, had to be admitted to the Institute of Mental Health, Amritsar, on the day of his apprehension. Another person, Sukhwinder Singh, of SBS Nagar, was also facing mental health issues. Subsequently, these three persons were handed over to their family members on the same day after verification by the local police.

Further, 16 of 58 detainees were found to be intellectually disabled, of whom four were suffering from this disorder since childhood. One Babu Singh, a resident of Bulandshahr, UP, was getting psychiatric treatment from Agra. He rejected the possibility of these men being kept as bonded labourers for farm activities.“It has also come to light that 14 persons had come to Punjab only a few days or weeks prior to their apprehension, hence the conclusion that they were working as bonded labourers in farms since long is totally refuted,” Capt Amarinder said.

Conspiracy to malign Punjab farmers

It is yet another conspiracy by the BJP-led central government to malign Punjab farmers. All 58 cases have been investigated thoroughly and nothing of this kind has been found. — Capt Amarinder Singh, CM



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