GUJRANWALA/HAFIZABAD

The police have unearthed a bonded labour-cum-torture cell at a brick-kiln in Kot Ladha village and have recovered 100 persons including 30 women and 25 minor children.

The police have also arrested four accused here on Sunday. According to details, a youth namely Farooq, a resident of Sargodha in a written application appealed to CPO Raja Riffat Mukhtar that 21 persons of his family had been abducted by owners of a brick-kiln including Mushtaq Tarrar and his sons and all the abductees were being forced to bonded labour by the influential landlords for the past 13 years.

The applicant said that he had succeeded in escaping the captivity of the landlords while three persons including his uncle Tasawar, his wife and another namely Zahoor had been murdered by the accused during an attempt to escape. He further said that his father Ahsan had also been died in the custody and the influential landlords did not even inform them about his death. He told that the cruel owners had been involved in rape and other sexual acts with the ‘bonded women’ and children.

On the directions of Gujranwala CPO Raja Riffat Mukhtar, the police party raided a brick-kiln located in Ladhewala Warriach and recovered 84 abductees including women and children. The police also arrested four accused namely Asif, Saif Ullah, Zahid and Azhar Baloch. The Ladhewala Police have registered a case. Meanwhile addressing a press conference, the CPO said that it was responsibility of police to protect life and property of the common man. He pledged that the victims would be provided justice and protection.

Reporter from Hafizabad citing police sources reports, influential landlords of Kot Ladha, Saifullah, Mushtaq Ahmad and Muhammad Asif setup a brick-kiln and a ‘bonded labour camp’ adjacent to Kot Ladha police station premises since long. The accused used to get forced labour from the detained men and women at the brick kiln and agricultural fields. The recovered men and women said that the accused used to get labour from them and were neither paying adequate wages nor providing them sufficient food. They further alleged that the accused even forced women for their sexual lust and several women become pregnant. They further disclosed that six persons were even murdered by the accused and several others were mercilessly tortured when they attempted to escape from their detention. All the recovered persons belong to Rattapur Rehan, Tehsil Kot Momin District Sargodha.

The raid was conducted on the report lodged with the CPO Gujranwala by the 16-year-old Irfan who had escaped from the detention of the accused after the murder of his father and maternal uncle. Later, Irfan told the media that whenever a detenue attempted to seek justice from the police, the police involved him/her in concocted cases on the behest of the accused. The police taking prompt action arrested the landlord Saifullah Tarar and six accomplices involved in taking the poor people hostage.