Centre’s letter on human trafficking aimed at defaming farmers: Akali Dal

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The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Friday termed a Union Home Ministry missive to the Punjab government on the “enormous” issue of human trafficking and bonded labour practices being followed in the border belt a “ridiculous assumption aimed purely at defaming the farmers of the state”.

In a statement here, former MP Prem Singh Chandumajra said the letter from the Home Ministry itself was self-contradictory.

He said on the one hand, the letter was claiming that 58 persons had been apprehended by the Border Security Force (BSF) and that they seemed to be mentally challenged, while on the other, it was being claimed that “human trafficking syndicates” were luring such persons to areas in Gurdaspur, Amritsar, Ferozepur and Abohar with the promise of good salaries but that they were exploited and forced to work as bonded labouers.

“Can both these things happen simultaneously?” he asked, adding that the Home Ministry should not make “illogical connections”.

Chandumajra said in a statement that such letters from the Home Ministry would also send a wrong signal across the country and would create an “atmosphere of confrontation”.

He said the fact of the matter was that there was not one FIR of any person being forced to work as a bonded labourer in any of the areas mentioned in the letter.

“In fact, the opposite is true. Farmers of Punjab pay labourers in advance for their services and that it why lakhs of migrant workers come to Punjab every year for planting of the paddy crop.”

He said the report should be immediately withdrawn and the real reason why some mentally challenged people found their way to the border areas which were at the end of the railway lines should be examined.

–IANS

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