SMS Help line to Address Violence Against Dalits and Adivasis in India
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Jaswinder Singh @ Kundan S/o Gurjant Singh @ Janta, Age-34 years is from village- Jai Singh wala, tehsil & District- Bathinda. He belongs to Majhabi Sikh caste which is declared as a scheduled caste by the state of Punjab. From last five years he is working as a “Siri” (bonded labourer) with the different employers. Now he is working with Mandeep Singh S/o Mohinder Singh from village- Jai Singh wala, tehsil & District- Bathinda who belongs to caste “Jatt Sikh” (upper caste). When he (Jaswinder singh) starts to work for Mandeep Singh he was given Rs. 15000 (Fifteen thousand rupees) as an advance amount and Mandeep Singh promised him that he will gave him Rs.41,000 (Forty one thousand rupees) as his annual wages for the first year. The advance money which was given to Jaswinder Singh he used to repay the bonded debt of his previous employer who took work from him continuously for three years and never paid his wages and when he desire to leave his work then he imposed a amount of Rs.10,000 (ten thousand rupees) on him as an bonded debt. Then to repay the bonded debt of his previous employer Jaswinder Singh was helpless to work for Mandeep Singh. Now he is working as a bonded labourer under the employer (Mandeep Singh). He is working for day and night and the employer never allow him to go to his home even his house is in the same village where he is working but the employer hardly allow him to go after two or three days only for one night. Whenever he stayed more time then the employer comes to his house and abused him and forcibly brings him to work. The employer never paid his earns wages even not any overtime or weekly rest. Whenever he demands his wages he gave him only Rs.100 or Rs.50 after ten or fifteen days. His father and brother are working outside they are managing the household needs. When Jaswinder Singh worked for one year for the employer, he demands his wages but the employer do not paid his wages but impose a bonded debt amount of Rs.8000/- on him so that he could extract bonded labour from him and in the second year he again gave him Rs.17,000 as an advance amount and again engaged him in his work. Now the employer is not giving him his wages. During the work his maternal grandmother was died and he asked the employer that he wants to go for his maternal grandmother’s last ceremony.
The employer tells him that first look after his cattle and then go anywhere. After finishing the work of employer in the morning Jaswinder went to the house of his maternal parents. He came back in the next day morning on the work of the employer, the employer starts to abuse him on caste basis and tell him that “why he is late?. The employer threaten him that he will teach him a lesson for coming late on work. Then the employers start his tractor and kicked Jaswinder Singh with his tractor and he was injured seriously. His left arm has been broken and he became unconscious. The employer’s son Harjit Singh bring him to a private doctor and his arm has plastered. Now Jaswinder Singh is unable to work for the employer due to his injury but the employer is demanding bonded debt of Rs.20,000 (Twenty thousand rupees) and is forcing him to pay the bonded debt otherwise work for him as the wheat harvesting season is coming. The employer is not giving any expenses for the treatment of Jaswinder Singh, when Jaswinder Singh’s mother went to the house of the employer to demand money for his son’s treatment. The employer do not gave her any money but he abused her and ordered her to get out from his house and said that he has not any money for Jaswinder Singh’s treatment. The employer has threaten that if he will not pay the bonded debt or will not work for him he will hand him over to police and with the help of police he will extract the bonded debt. Now Jaswinder Singh is unable to work due to his injury but the employer is harassing him to extract the bonded debt. Jaswinder Singh has approached to VSJ and the complaint was filed to District Magistrate, Bathinda. Jaswinder Singh is physically free from bonded labour and bonded debt.
Sukhdev Singh S/o Pal Ram, Village- Bolad Kalan, tehsil and District- Patiala belongs to Majhabi Sikh caste which has been declared as a Scheduled Caste by the State government of Punjab. In year 2010 he was employed by one Jai Bhagwan S/o Munshi Ram, Caste- Rajput, who is resident of village- Bolad Kalan, tehsil and District- Patiala. He was working as a “Siri” and was also working to care the cattle of the employer. The employer gave him Rs. 45000/- as an advance which he spend on his household expenses. In the end of first year the employer imposed an amount debt of Rs. 20,000/- on him. To repay the bonded debt of the employer Sukhdev Singh was helpless to work again for the employer. Again Sukhdev Singh work for one year and again in the end of third year the employer imposed a debt of Rs. 40,000/- and again Sukhdev Singh work for the employer and in the third year the employer again do not pay his earn wages. The employer was not allowing him any weekly rest or over time. Whenever, he could not attend the work due to some urgent work or due to sickness the employer charged him a fine of Rs.300/- per day and adds this amount in the advance amount and charged an interest on the whole amount according to his own wish.
On 6-7-013 his brother’ wife was ill and she was admitted to Rajindera Hospital Patiala and no one was in the house so Sukhdev Singh decided to stay in his house that night but in the same night the brother of the employer named Babli came to the house of Sukhdev Singh and abuse him on caste basis and bring him to the house of the employer Jai Singh. When he reached in the house of the employer the brother’s son of the employer named Sanji beaten him mercilessly and injured him and locked him in a room so he could not go to his house in the night. On second day the door was opened and he was ordered to work. When the employer was here Sukhdev Singh ran away from the work place. On 9-6-013 the employer and his brother Babli came to the house of Sukhdev Singh and started beating him and bring him to their farm house and locked them in a room. On the next day Sukhdev Singh ran away from the work and approached to VSJ and the complaint was sent to the District Magistrate, Patiala. No action has been taken against the employer the victim is physically free from bondage but no release certificate has been issued to the victim up till now.
Ms. Banarasi, Age-45, who belongs to village- Bakshiwala, tehsil- Budhlada, District- Mansa.
She belongs to boria sikh (Scheduled caste). She was married to Darshan Singh S/o Balvir Singh who is from Bakshi wala. Her husband Darshan Singh was a bonded labourer (Siri). Darshan Singh had been working as a bonded labourer from the age of 11 years. In staring, he worked as cattle tender for seven years and from the age of 18 years he worked as a “Siri”. He worked with four different employers. In 1994 he started to work on daily basis and he went to Mansa city to search the work and he got work at Shiv Shakti Rice Mill in Mansa City. The owner of this mill Bittu was promised them that he will pay him according to minimum wages.
Darshan Singh was also took care the 11 cattle of the owner. The owner suggested Darshan Singh to bring his wife to the work. So both the wife and husband started work at the rice mill. They always went to the work along with his 8 years old son named Malkit Singh. Then the employer said them that can stay at the work place.
Since Banarasi and his husband was in the scarcity of the residential land, as her husband have five other brothers. They accepted the proposal of the employer and started staying at the work place. Their children were also born at the rice mill. Now whole family members were engaged in the work of the employer. The employer never gave them any information regarding their wages. Whenever they demand their wages from the employer he gave them only Rs.1000/- for their food and makes excuse that he will gave them their whole earned money after some time. In the family there were (1) Banarasi (2) Darshan Singh (husband of Banarasi) (3) Malkit Singh(Son) (4) Sukhvir Kaur (Daughter) (5) Shinder Kaur (Daughter)(6) Neelam Kaur (Daughter in law) (7) Kala Singh (son) (8) Pooja (Granddaughter) and (9) Deepak (Grandson). Banarasi’s children and her granddaughter and grandson were also born at the rice mill. When Banarasi desired to educate them then the employer do not allow her children and grand children to go to school. Both of her daughters Shinder Kaur and Sukhvir Kaur were also got married at the rice mill.
When her daughter’s marriage was held (one year back) the employer arrange the tea and food about 100 persons and after the marriage he informed the family that he will obtain the money of the marriage from them. In this way whenever the family demand their wages the employer beaten them and threaten them that he will not pay them any money because he had already spent money on the marriage of their girls. Now ,the whole family members were in bondage from the last 19 years. They were not allowed to go to their native village. Banarasi came into the contact of our field animator Mr.Jagsir Singh and narrate her whole incident and story to him and Mr. Jagsir Singh assured her that he will definitely help them for their release.
On 22nd June 2013, Mr. Jagsir Singh managed to bring Banarasi out of the rice mill. Then Mr. Jagsir Singh has contacted to Mr. Jai Singh (Project Director) and explained the whole matter. As Mr. Jai Singh was in a meeting at New Delhi he suggested appearing before District Magistrate Mansa along with Banarasi. From the head office of VSJ Ms. Saroj Rani (Project Coordinator) talk to Banarasi on phone and get all the details and shared all the details with Mr. Jai Singh on phone and make a complaint to the District Magistrate on behalf Banarasi and send it to Mr. Jagsir Singh through email. Mr. Jagsir Singh took the complaint and appears before the district Magistrate, Mansa along with Banarasi and her daughter in law. The District Magistrate, Mansa issued orders to the Sub Divisional Magistrate, Mansa to rescue the family members of the Banarasi. Mr. Rakesh Kumar, the SDM, Mansa went to the rice mill along with Mr. Harpal Singh, SHO, Police Station- City Mansa. Our animator Mr. Jagsir Singh was also with them. They went to the rice mill and rescued the family from the clutches of the employer. As the family has not any residential place they have took asylum at the Transit Rehabilitation Centre of VSJ. After their release our Field Animator Mr. Jagsir Singh and Mr. Vijaypaul from Rajpura went to the office of SDM, Mansa to get the release certificate for the released persons. After a discussion the SDM agreed to give release certificate only for three persons of the family. Their names are Malkit Singh, Darshan Singh and Kala Singh. Now the family is in the Transit Rehabilitation Centre of VSJ.
Sunita Kaur w/o Baldev Singh Village- Buh Tehsil- Patti District- Tarn Taran. She belonges to Majhabi Sikh” caste which is declared a scheduled caste by the Government of Punjab.
Sunita Kaur, aged about 25 years, was born in Chattisgarh. Her father Shri Sita Ram was a Patwari and her mother Smt. Ram Bhatti was a teacher. Her parents’ home where she was born is located in village Singhanpur of Chhattisgarh State and is presently in the possession of Sunita’s aunt and uncle. It is Sunita’s claim that her parents were murdered by her aunt and uncle by lacing their food with poison. Sunita was around 1 or 2 years old at the time of her parents’ demise. The reason for the murder, as narrated by her other relatives, was to take over the property of her parents. Smt Sunita Kaur states that her aunt and uncle ill treated her throughout her life. Despite both her parents being educated, her aunt and uncle never sent to school so that she may never stand on her own feet and remain submissive to them. At the tender age she says that she was thrown into the fire and her private parts were burnt by her aunt and uncle. She was left physically challenged and mentally traumatized at a young age. At the age of 6 years one doctor from the nearby village named as Sukhna brought her to his village. In his house Sunita started work as domestic worker, she worked here for ten years. Then her Uncle and Aunti brought her again to her house. When she was about 16 years old, she was ‘sold’ by her aunt and uncle to one person named Prem for 50,000 rupees. Prem brought her from Chhattisgarh to Punjab, first to Moga, where she was kept in an unknown location for 8 days where she was never given any food or clothing. First day she was raped by three persons and she became unconscious. Then after 8 days Prem Singh called his brother’s wife named Vidiya and she took her to her brother Pappu’s house at Makhu to work as domestic worker and managed to earn some money by doing some daily wage job and returned to Chattisgarh. But she was then forced to return to Punjab as her aunt and uncle turned her out. Then she come back to Makhu in Punjab and here she met with an her known lady and she bring her to village- Harike and in this village she started to work as domestic worker for the employer who was known as Dhillon Singh. Dhillon Singh’s friend was in village- Buh where Baldev Singh was working as bonded labourer.
Dhillon Singh asked Sunita that there is a person who is the “Siri” (bonded labourer) of his friend and if she agree then they can manage the marriage arrangements of their marriage. Then Sunita got married with Baldev Singh and she also started work with the same employer where her husband was working. She came to the office of VSJ with her husband as they were facing problems in the brick kiln and were assaulted by their employer.
A case of bonded labour has been sent to the District Magistrate, Tarn Taran.
Sunita says she wants justice for all the violence and abuse that she has been suffered through out her life.. Also explained that she is the legal heir to her parents’ home in Chhattisgarh which is presently in the possession of her aunt and uncle who have illegally possessed her property. She wants her property restored to her. Sunita Kaur is apparently physically challenged although the exact nature of her handicap needs to be determined though a medical examination. Her speech is slurred and memory faint. Currently Sunita and her husband are working in a school to clean the school and to prepare tea for the teachers. They are living in a school along with their two children. VSJ has sent the complaint to District Magistrate, Tarn Taran for the release and rehabilitation of Sunita and her family members which is still pending.