Bihari girls sold to work in Punjab
From Santosh Jha

PATNA, Oct 15 - Hundreds of young girls from Bihar are being sold and forcibly taken away to cities like Chandigarh, Agra and Meerut to work as maids. Thousands of poor and illiterate Bihari villagers are forced to work as bonded labourers in the countryside of Punjab.

Girls are sold by their fathers to agents and single boys to land them in big cities where they power the household and farm requirements.

Recently, the DM of Katihar district of Bihar sent a request to the Deputy Commissioner of Sangrur district in Punjab to enquire about a case of bonded labour. It was done following the complaints received by the DM that around dozen agricultural labourers of Bihar were kept confined as bonded labour by a transport company owner in Sujapur and Ansa Diyara villages of Sangrur. Two of them had escaped from Punjab and back home registered the complaint with the district administration.

In the past too, there have been complaints of missing labourers in Punjab and their exploitation by middlemen and owners there. The two states have not made any move to take up the task at higher levels. Given the massive migration of Bihari labourers in Punjab, there is need to create a state-level mechanism to regulate the flow of labourers. The Bihar Government has recently initiated the move to keep the statistics of the migrant labour. The Punjab Government might also create a cell to monitor the influx of Bihari labourers.

In the meantime, there are reports of girls being sold and sent forcibly to Punjab and Delhi. It has been learnt that those who migrate to other states are not given daughters in marriage in Bihar. A number of such incidents was reported from Giridih district. The scare of distance desists them from marrying their daughters. These boys have to buy the girls by paying a hefty amount to the poor fathers who oblige. Some Bihari men work as agents for these elements and pose as eligible bridegrooms and buy the girls. They then sell them to the dubious elements and they take them to states where the girls are either forced to work as maids or land in the brothels.

The Ranchi police had recently busted such a racket when they stopped a group of 100 tribal girls at the railway station en route to New Delhi. They said they were going there in search of work and better future.

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