//Hangarahalli case : NHRC rapporteur raps government for inaction

Hangarahalli case : NHRC rapporteur raps government for inaction

Mysore, Feb. 18 (BLU&KCU)- The Government has completely failed in its mission by not providing adequate security to the eye-witnesses in the Hangara-halli bonded labour case (near Srirangapatna), alleged K.R. Venugopal, Special Rapporteur, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and Retd. Secretary to the Prime Minister.

Speaking at the workshop on ‘Eradication of bonded labour and Child labour System in Karnataka’ organised at Abdul Nazir Sab Institute of Rural Development here yesterday, he said that though the Hangarahalli case was exposed six years ago, nothing has been settled so far, keeping it under wraps.

The then Government dragged its feet in collecting necessary documents, delaying the disposal of the case with new controversies being added recently.

The eye-witnesses while deposing before the Court are giving contradictory statements. The Government should have provided security to the eye-witnesses, especially when the issue kicked up controversies at international level.

The Government failed at every step and the concerned officers should take serious action atleast now, suggested Venugopal.

At the NHRC meeting held in Bangalore during 2003, a 29-point programme was provided and unfortunately few of them were not implemented. It was suggested to Banks that while advancing loans to industries and commercial establishments an undertaking should be taken from the owners that they would not employ child labour. Unfortunately, that has not been followed, he regretted.

Speaking about eradication of child labour, Venugopal said that no honest attempt has been made in that regard. Just conducting awareness programmes will not bear fruit. The Government should take stern steps to eradicate child labour. While offering tenders to take up works, an undertaking should be made mandatory stating that child labour will not be employed.

To rehabilitate freed bonded labours, the Government was supposed to provide Rs. 24 crore during the last four years but has given just Rs. 6 crore which will in no way suffice, he suggested.