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Hands chopped off

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 16: Two labourers from Kalahandi district, about 550 km from here, were admitted to district headquarter hospital in Bhawanipatna after a labour contractor allegedly slashed off their right palms when they refused to go for work as bonded labourers to Raipur in Chhattisgarh.

The local town police have registered a complaint in this connection. The victims were identified as Nilambar Dhangada Majhi, 23, and Pialu Dhangada Majhi, 25, of Nuaguda village under Jaipatna police station from Kalahandi district. Inspector of police of Jaypatana police P.S. Nayak said: “We have admitted them in the hospital.”

Police sources said a labour contractor from Sinapali area of Nuapada had hired a group of labourers from Kalahandi by paying Rs 14,000 each with a promise to engage them in the harvesting activities in Chhattisgarh. They were given an impression that they would be taken to Andhra Pradesh after harvesting their paddy crops. But the real motive behind hiring them was to engage them in brick-kilns in Raipur itself.

The contactor had taken the group of labourers to Raipur in a Bolero yesterday. However, on the way the labourers got wind of his plan. While 12 of them managed to flee when the vehicle neared the Borda Outpost in Kalahandi, Nilambar and Pialu were left behind.

The contractor detained these two and threatened them with dire consequences if the entire group did not return. Later, the contractors, along with his associates in an intoxicated state, chopped off the right palms of two labourers and fled. Majhi, who lost his palm, said: “ The middleman with his goons chopped off our hands with an axe. He said we were paying the price for our group defying his orders and that he would not leave us physically fit to work again.”