Odisha labourers held captive by Andhra businessman

Paralakhemudi: In another shocking incident which narrates the plight of Odisha labourers who are being forced to migrate and eventually getting subjected to torture, three labourers who went to work in Tirumala of neighbouring Andhra Pradesh have been allegedly held captive for the last three days by their employer, a fabric businessman. The family members of the victims today alleged that the businessman is demanding Rs 2.40 lakh to release the labourers.

According to sources, the labourers- Yunus Nayak, Samuel Dalia and Amar Karad, who belong to Cheligarh village under Mohana block of Gajapati district were taken to Andhra Pradesh by a middleman from the same village. The middleman engaged them at a fabric shop and the owner reportedly paid Rs 54,000 towards salary for six months, sources said. However, the businessman alleged that the youths were involved in embezzlement of money and demanded payment of Rs 80,000 from each one of them (Rs 2.40 lakh in total), sources said.

After the family members failed to pay the amount, the youths have been held captive for the last three days, family sources alleged.

“The owner of the shop has forcibly held my husband captive in a locked room. I request the State government to help in rescuing my husband,” Sikha Nayak, wife of a captive labourer said.

Surabhi Karad, wife of another labourer said “My husband was held captive while he was returning home.”

Venugopal Rao, District Labour Officer said “We request them (the family members) to send us the details in writing. We will take it up with the labour court and then steps will be initiated to rescue them.”