Bonded labour case: 4 convicted

 
In his judgment, Additional District and Sessions Court Judge S R Nayak sentenced quarry owner Puttaswamy, who was the prime accused, and his son Arunkumar to two years rigorous imprisonment. Besides, the court imposed a fine of Rs 26,000 on Puttaswamy and Rs 24,000 on Arunkumar.

Two others, Mahalinga and Shivaiah, were sentenced to one year imprisonment and a fine of Rs 1,500 each was slammed on them. Srinivas and Mariningappa, who were accused number three and four in the case, were acquitted by the court, which heard the case for nine years.

The convicts, who had fettered the five workers and forced them to work in the quarry, were sentenced under IPC sections 347 and 357 and also under the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) act 1976 dealing with ban on bonded labour. The govt had ordered Corps of Detectives inquiry following uproar over the incident, which was exposed by district farmers association former president K S Nanjundegowda and others on June 26, 2000.

It was also alleged that the workers were not allowed to go out and beaten up regularly. When Nanjundegowda had questioned Arunkumar about the inhuman treatment of the labourers, the owner's son had threatened to burn the farmer's leader alive. Reacting to the judgment, Nanjundegowda said that the government should wake up and take corrective measures.

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