Swami Agnivesh seeks creation of STF to tackle bonded labor
Bhopal, Feb 15: Noted social worker and Bandhua Mukti Morcha's national president Swami Agnivesh today demanded the constitution of a Special Task Force (STF) to end the problem of bonded labor in Madhya Pradesh.
"The bonded labor system is still in vogue in the country even after nearly 70 years of (achieving) Independence. Though a law to end it was framed in 1976, the practice is still going on under the nose of Madhya Pradesh government.
"People were forced to work as bonded laborers on their own land for generations since last 20-25 years and money lenders were recovering interests from them at the rate of 15-20 per cent," Agnivesh told reporters here during a programme on the issue.
He said in this regard, he has handed over a list of 450 people of Saharia tribe of the state who are working as bonded laborers to the Guna district Collector. He claimed to have written to the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan a number of times on the issue, and that no discussion has taken place yet on the issue.
He said nearly 1,000 tribal laborers would take out a rally in Bhopal tomorrow from different roads of the city. It would culminate into a sit-in protest at Neelam Park.
Agnivesh said he has also drawn the attention of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and Guna MP and senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia on the issue of bonded laborers in Scindia's constituency.
Both leaders have assured they would raise the issue in Parliament, he said. After the creation of the Bonded Labor System (Abolition) Act, 1976, it is the responsibility of the government to end it even if it is still practiced in the guise of any other name, he added.