April 4, 2021 2:42:55 am
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Saturday clarified that its March letter to Punjab on exploitation of farm labour was not connected to the ongoing farmers’ protests, and that media reports suggesting “grave charges” by the ministry against farmers had put the letter in “unrelated context”.
The ministry said it was a “routine communication” on law and order issues.
The MHA said in a statement: “A section of the media has erroneously reported that this Ministry has written to Punjab Government allegedly levelling grave charges against farmers of the state. These news reports are misleading and present a distorted and highly editorialized opinion of a simple observation about a socioeconomic problem emerging from four sensitive border districts of Punjab over a period of two years, which has been brought to the attention of this Ministry by the concerned CAPF.”
It stated that some reports about the letter have juxtaposed in a “totally unrelated context” to conclude that the MHA has “framed ‘grave charges’ against farmers of Punjab and has also connected this with the ongoing farmers’ agitation”.
“The letter clearly and only states that ‘human trafficking syndicates’ hire such labourers and they are ‘exploited, paid poorly and meted out inhuman treatment’ besides luring them with drugs to extract more labour affecting their ‘physical and mental health’,” the MHA stated.
Arguing that no motive can be ascribed to the letter, the ministry said that the letter was a “routine communication” on law and order issues.
“This letter has also been forwarded to Secretary, Union Ministry of Labour & Employment, with a request to carry out sensitization exercise in all States, with an aim to check the duping of vulnerable victims at the hands of unscrupulous elements,” the statement said.
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