JEEVIKA activists hold a press conference on 28 December 2013 at the Bangalore Press Club at 1 pm and statewide protests on 2 January 2014 in 17 taluks and 25 districts demanding stringent action against perpetrators of violence on two bonded labourers from Odisha
Press Conference in Bangalore
About 60 JEEVIKA activists and leaders of the Union of Bonded Labourers and Agricultural Workers in Karnataka from the different districts of Karnataka gathered at the Bangalore Press Club at 1 pm to hold a press conference on the incident of rights hands of two bonded labourers from Odisha being chopped off by the labour contractors. The incident had occurred on 15 December 2013.
The press conference was addressed by Kiran Kamal Prasad, coordinator, JEEVIKA, Mr. Nitin R. practicing lawyer at the Karnataka High Court and a human rights activist and Prof. Babu Mathew, Professor of Law, National Law University, Delhi. Two separate notes were circulated to the press giving the details and some photographs of the incident and our various demands to the relevant national authorities and those in the states of Odisha and Karnataka. Kiran, after narrating the gruesome features of the violence, highlighted how violence is part and parcel of the very system of bonded labour. He also brought out the wide prevalence of the system of bonded labour even today in every state and union territory in the country, quoting from the Global Slavery Index published by Walk Free Foundation on 17 October 2013. He asked for effective implementation of the Bonded Labour Act, the Supreme Court Judgment on Bonded Labour on 15 October 2012 and the Karnataka Action Plan on Bonded Labour 2008. He also drew attention of the need to notify an entirely new set of Rules under the Act.
Mr. Nitin demanded that Chief Minister must be held responsible for the non implementation of the Act on Bonded Labour. Prof. Babu Mathew brought out the role of grass root mobilisation of people in implementing the Act and the role played by JEEVIKA in revitalizing the functioning of the Vigilance Committees under the Act.
Statewide Protests in Taluks, Sub divisions and Districts
On 2 January 2014, protests were held simultaneously in 17 taluks and 25 district and sub divisional towns by the JEEVIKA activists to demand action against the perpetrators of violence on the two bonded labourers from Odisha and also proper implementation of the Bonded Labour Act in different taluks and districts in Karnataka. Taluk, sub division and district specific demands on bonded labour were also put forward.