Almost a month after the the palms of two migrant labourers from Kalahandi were chopped off by a labour contractor over refusal to work in Andhra Pradesh, a similar case has been surfaced in Bolangir district in Orissa. A 10-year-old boy from the district who worked with his parents at a brick kiln in Karnataka was attacked with an iron rod by his employer, causing severe injuries to his hands.
The boy’s left hand may have to be amputated, doctors treating him at the VSS Medical College in Sambalpur said.
Last year, the boy, Sushant Kumbhar, and his parents travelled to Gulbarga district of Karnataka to work at the brick kiln along with seven other families from Patnagarh block of Bolangir.
Although they were assured by local brokers of payment of Rs 15,000 after reaching the brick kiln, the promise was not kept, Patnagarh Sub Divisional Police Officer Sunil Joshi said. ]Instead, the owner of the brick kiln paid Rs 500 a week to each family.
Soon after, the brick-kiln owner allegedly started torturing the families. Unable to bear the torture, some workers managed to flee but Sushant’s father Santosh and mother Bhanumati chose to stay back.
They, however, stopped working as they did not get their assured payment. Angry with the defiance, brick-kiln owner Lacchman Naik beat up the boy with an iron rod in November.
He reportedly asked Sushant to keep the bricks in a particular order, but when the boy refused he beat him up with the rod.
“My parents applied some paste on my hand, but it did not lessen my pain. They could not take me to any hospital fearing the owner,” said Sushant.
The doctors said the delay in treatment has damaged the boy’s left hand.
Sushant and his parents were rescued after other families who had fled, informed the Bolangir district administration.
Following communications from Bolangir administration, the Assistant Labour Commissioner of Gulbarga and his team rescued them from the brick kiln and sent them back to Bolangir on January 5.
The Bolangir police have registered a case against the brick-kiln owner and the two brokers. The district administration has provided Rs 10,000 for the boy’s treatment.
Police said they were searching for middlemen Mohan Meher of Bagalabandh village and Bhutulu Behera of Tikrapara village. Those two had sent the family to Karnataka.
The assailants then got into the car in which they came and drove off.