Acid attack, chopped fingers! Odisha labourers ‘brutalised’ in Andhra Pradesh

Sundergarh: Their pursuit for livelihood has taken them far away from their homeland, but their travails have only earned them brutality and exploitation. Odisha labourers who have managed to escape from a brick kiln in Vizianagaram of Andhra Pradesh have alleged that the kiln owner threw acid on a labourer and also chopped another’s finger for demanding salary.

The labourer who sustained critical burn injuries has been admitted to Veer Surendra Sai Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (Vimsar) at Burla and is stated to be critical now.

According to reports, as many as 12 labourers of Hemagiri area in Sundergarh district had gone to Vizianagaram to work in a brick kiln some two and a half months back. The workers alleged that the owner used to thrash them whenever they asked for salary.

Unable to bear the trauma, when they tried to escape, the owner threw acid on one of the workers and chopped another’s finger. While seven labourers are still held captive by the owner at the kiln, five including the acid attack victim managed to escape. The labourers reached Hemagiri yesterday and lodged a written complaint at the police station today.

“We were working in a brick kiln in Vizianagaram. The owner got angry and threw acid on my father,” said the victim labourer’s son who escaped.

“They made us work for around two and a half months and paid us only Rs 20,000. When we asked for the rest amount, the owner refused. He also threw acid on one of our co-workers and cut another’s finger,” alleged another worker.

The family members of the labourers have also reported the matter to the SP and the Collector of Sundergarh.

Meanwhile, OPCC chief Niranjan Patnaik has expressed his concern over the matter.