Indian bonded labour activists arrested

18 September 2007

Punjab authorities arrested Jai Singh, director of Anti-Slavery International’s partner Volunteers for Social Justice (VSJ), and around 100 bonded labourers for demonstrating against bonded labour.

They were charged on 9 September with disturbing the peace as they marched through Sangrur District and were held in prison for one week.

The protest was part of a five-month 2,000 kilometre non-violent march across Punjab to raise awareness of bonded labour and demand its end.

Demonstrators in other parts of the state have been harassed and attacked by landlords as they continued the march. In one attack on 13 September, over 30 people, including women and children, were injured. Despite a police presence, there was no effort to stop the landlords’ violence, a VSJ activist said.

The march will finish in the city of Ludhiana, Punjab on 6 December.