February 25, 1981, Forty Years Ago: Bonded Labour

It is happening within 30 km of Delhi — brick kiln labourers are being bought and sold all over Haryana. This sad truth, which has become the accepted norm among the 1,000-odd brick kiln operators of the state, came to light when a group of social workers forced the police to rescue 17 families of labourers from the clutches of a kiln owner of Bharai village, six km from Bahadurgarh, an industrial township on the Delhi-Haryana border. Among those rescued is a 50-year-old woman who was allegedly being held hostage by the kiln owner’s men because her only son had gone to the capital to seek the help of the Dalit Panthers’ Bhatta Mazdoor Sangharsha Samiti.

‘Motivated’ Protest

The Union government maintained that “some political parties and disgruntled groups and anti-social elements” had whipped up the sentiments of the “misguided students” in Gujarat over the issue of reservation of seats. A statement made by Venkatasubbiah, Minister of State for Home Affairs, in the Lok Sabha said the government had been “viewing with grave concern and anguish” the recent developments in Gujarat following the agitation by the students of medical colleges there over reservation of seats for Harijans. This had resulted in violence, arson, loot and destruction of public and private property. Many innocent and precious lives had been lost. A similar statement was made in the Rajya Sabha by Yogendra Makwana, Minister of State for Home Affairs. Venkatasubbiah appealed to “all members of the House and to all shades of opinion” to strengthen the hands of the government.

Charles And Diana

The Queen and th Duke of Edinburgh today announced “with the greatest pleasure” the betrothal of their 32-year-old son, Prince Charles, to 19-year-old Lady Diana Spencer, who had fallen in love with him when she was barely 11 years old. The announcement has finally quashed all gossip about the romance which has taken up a lot of space in the British and Western mass-circulated newspapers and magazines.

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