panikhaiti
Representative image.

Another body wrapped in a plastic bag was brought to a tea estate in Lakhimpur of Assam and laid to rest.

This time it was that of 12-year-old Bisi Nag daughter of Jogeswar Nag and Rebecca Nag from Line No. 4 (Old Line) of Dolahat Tea Estate of the district under Nowboicha LAC area.

Bisi was reportedly found hanging in the residence of Tisi Kaso on Tuesday in Burung Basti of Naharlagan in Arunachal Pradesh.

She had been engaged as a domestic help in the household of Tisi Kaso, an MLA from Arunachal Pradesh for long. Following her death under mysterious condition, the Naharlagan police brought the body to her parents at Dolahat Tea Estate and got her buried with Catholic rituals without conducting a post mortem.

The role of police in Lakhimpur is also unknown. This is another instance of return of workers from Lakhimpur district as dead bodies from neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh where they were engaged in various labour works.

The work condition where these labourers were engaged in the state was often very inhospitable, unhealthy, unsafe and hazardous and was forced to do as slaves.

The tragic incident once again brings out the continued and unabated trafficking of girl child and male workers to Arunachal Pradesh from mostly the tea estate areas of Lakhimpur district. These areas are located on the inter-state boundary of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.

Earlier in 2018 the body of one Mangal Khewar, 28, from Rajgarh-Bangali near Koilamari Tea Estate in Lakhimpur district was left on inter-state boundary in Kakoi by the owner of a timber depot where he had went to work inside Arunachal Pradesh.

His fellow villagers informed the police at Lilabari Outpost but no action followed. The police just reportedly asked the villagers to bury the dead and did not take any follow-up action. As a result the villagers had no choice but to bury Mangal near the railway tracks passing through the village.

This year 19-year-old Gabriel Turi from nearby Balijan village adjoining Koilamari Tea Estate also returned in a plastic bag on 3rd February, four days after his death in Arunachal Pradesh. He died while trying to escape his captivity as a forced labour. Again the complicit role by the police in taking action is seen. Gabriel’s family has not received any compensation from his employer and justice from the authority.

These are the just three stories of unreported tragedies affecting the rural poor who have been exploited by traffickers for forced labour. The entire border area of Lakhimpur with Arunachal Pradesh is the hub of human trafficking in which young girls and unemployed youth are taken to be engaged in various works with a promise of better life. In most of the cases the reality is seemingly bleak. They are forced to work in hazardous conditions and confined with no hope of return to their native villages.

Farhana Ahmed

Farhana Ahmed is Northeast Now Correspondent in North Lakhimpur. She can be reached at: farhana.ahmed777@gmail.com

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