The Union Home Ministry on Saturday termed as “distorted” and “deceptive” media reports connecting its letter to the Punjab government on the plight of 58 “bonded labourers” saved in the state to the farmers’ agitation and said no motive must be ascribed to a regular communication over order problems. The ministry said an area of media has actually erroneously reported that the ministry has actually composed the letter to Punjab levelling “grave charges” versus the farmers of the state.”These news reports are deceptive and present a distorted and extremely editorialised opinion of a simple observation about a socioeconomic issue emerging from four delicate border districts of Punjab over a period of two years, which has been given the attention of this ministry by the worried Central Armed Police Force,” the home ministry said in a statement.The home ministry said, “First of all, no intention can be ascribed to a letter provided by this ministry to a specific state or states as this belongs to regular communication over law and order concerns”.
The ministry stated the letter has actually also been forwarded to the Secretary, Union Ministry of Labour and Work with a demand to perform a sensitisation workout in all states to check the duping of susceptible victims at the hands of unscrupulous elements.
“Second of all, some of the news reports about the letter have actually juxtaposed in an absolutely unassociated context to conclude that the MHA has actually framed ‘grave charges’ against the farmers of Punjab and has actually likewise connected this with the continuous farmers’ agitation,” the declaration said.Farmers, primarily from Punjab and Haryana, have been objecting on the borders of Delhi against three main agri laws considering that late November, with the deadlock continuing even after numerous rounds of talks.The home ministry stated the letter clearly and only mentions that “human trafficking distributes” hire such labourers and they are “exploited, paid poorly and meted out inhuman treatment” besides enticing them with drugs to extract more labour, impacting their “physical and psychological health”.”Keeping in view the multi-dimensional and overwhelming enormity of the problem, this ministry has actually only asked for the state federal government(s) to take suitable procedures to address this major problem,” the statement said.In its communication dated March 17, the home ministry has actually conveyed to the Punjab government that 58 mentally challenged individuals coming from Bihar and UP were discovered to be working as “bonded labourers” in the border districts of the state and asked it to take suitable action to deal with the “serious” problem.In the letter to the Chief Secretary of Punjab, the home ministry stated the Border Security Force BSF) has found that these 58 people, who were given Punjab with the guarantee of good salary however made use of, were offered drugs and required to operate in inhuman conditions once they reached Punjab.The house ministry said the BSF has informed that these labourers were collared from the border areas of Gurdaspur, Amritsar, Ferozepur and Abohar in Punjab in 2019 and 2020. The opposition Shiromani Akali Dal, which had snapped ties with the BJP-led NDA over the issue of agri laws, had on Friday questioned the Centre’s missive, declaring it was an attempt to malign the farmers of the state.