107 bonded labourers rescued from incense stick factory

As many as 107 bonded labourers, including five 11-year-old children, were rescued by the Bengaluru Urban district authorities from an incense stick factory at Kaggalipura on Kanakapura Road on the outskirts of Bengaluru on Thursday.

Assistant Commissioner (Bengaluru South) L C Nagaraj said these labourers were hired by Balaji Agarbatti owned by Bhaskar. They were kept in a small room in a very deplorable condition where they were provided with just one toilet. The room used to remain locked all the time and a pack of dogs were guarding the entrance of the building to ensure that the labourers did not flee.

Following a tip-off from an NGO, the district authorities raided the place and rescued the labourers. There were 40 labourers from Assam, 42 from West Bengal, 22 from Jharkhand, and two from Nepal. Upon quizzing them, the labourers said they were brought to Bengaluru by a labour contractor from Siliguri, promising them good life.

Nagaraj said: “The hall where these people were kept could house only 30 people. They were not paid salaries for many months.”

The assistant commissioner said the social welfare department has been contacted to take care of the rescued labourers till an alternative arrangement is made.

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