KALPETTA: In the latest case of workplace harassment, a resident of Panavally Kalindi ST Colony in Wayanad has alleged mental and physical torture at a plantation in Karnataka and approached the Thirunelly police seeking protection. The victim, Arun, said he escaped from the plantation following harassment by the owners.
“I was working under an estate owner named Chomani at Srimangala in Kodagu for over three years. In these three years, they have only paid me Rs 1,200 as wages. They only provide food. Apart from the work dress, all I have is a pair of clothes. Chomani’s wife used to beat me up with a stick. His other relatives, too, assaulted me. Unable to bear the assault, I escaped to Kerala with a female friend of mine. Soon after, the plantation owners visited my sister’s house in Panavally Kalindi Colony and threatened us, and we had to return to the farm. I have escaped several times, but their threats forced me to return. I came back to Kerala last week. Now I have approached the police seeking security,” said Arun.
Arun’s wife and two children are currently staying in the ginger farm. In his complaint, he requested the release of his children and wife. He has also requested action to get the wages for his work to date.
Meanwhile, the Thirunelly police said they have initiated a probe based on the complaint, however, they suggest filing a complaint with the Karnataka police since the incident took place there.
Recently, the family of Santhosh Raju of Koythupara Kattunayakan Colony in Vellamunda had lodged a complaint with the police seeking comprehensive inquiry into his death. A daily wage worker in a ginger farm in Kodagu, Santhosh, drowned in a river here.
The family has alleged mental and physical harassment at the workplace. The Kerala State Human Rights Commission directed the district police chief, Padam Singh, to investigate the matter and submit a report within three weeks.
Recently Association for Protection of Civil Rights started a survey to study workplace harassment and mysterious deaths of ST workers from Wayanad in neighbouring states.