At least 66 persons reportedly held in bonded labour were recovered on Wednesday from Tharparkar’s Kaloi town, police said.
The Kaloi station house officer (SHO), Karim Dad Mangrio, on Thursday said police, acting on court orders, raided a farmhouse owned by former MNA Arbab Zakaullah and recovered at least 66 peasants reportedly held in bonded labour.
A local, Mandhro Kolhi, had approached the Sindh High Court’s Hyderabad Bench seeking help in rescuing 94 persons from his community, including women and children. He claimed the people were being forced to work the former MNA’s land for the last two years. Kolhi also alleged that Zakaullah had not been paying the peasants from the harvest their due share for the work they were doing.
The 66 peasants were produced in court Wednesday evening, where the court ruled in their favour, liberating them from bonded labour. Rebuffing allegations, the former MNA accused Kohli and his supporters of fabricating the story, claiming it was all a ‘drama’ as the peasants had taken a loan from him and refused to pay it back.
SHO Mangro said more raids are underway to recover the remaining 28 persons Kolhi had named in his application. He further said that this was the first ‘private jail’ of its nature busted by Tharparkar police in the recent history of the desert region.