New Delhi, Jan. 27: The Supreme Court today took suo moto cognisance of the chopping of hands of two migrant labourers from Odisha by a contractor from Andhra Pradesh, and sought response from the two state governments on the issue.
A bench of Chief Justice P Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi asked the chief secretaries of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh to respond within four weeks and filed their replies on the incident.
The bench issued the notices following newspaper reports that at the instance of the contractor, the right hands of two labourers from Odisha were chopped off after they had refused to work at a brick kiln in Chattisgarh’s Raipur district.
The victims were identified as Nilambar Dhangada Majhi, 23, and Pialu Dhangada Majhi, 25, of Nuaguda village under Jaipatna police station in Kalahandi district.
It was alleged that the contractors had hired a group of labourers from Kalahandi by paying Rs 14,000 to 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 at brick kilns in Raipur itself.
The contactor had taken the group of labourers to Raipur, from where most of the group members managed to escapee after coming to know of his actual 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 contractor, 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.”