A section of the media had erroneously reported that the Ministry of Home Affairs had written to the Punjab Government allegedly levelling grave charges against the farmers of the state. The ministry called these news reports misleading and presented a distorted and highly editorialized opinion of a simple observation about a socioeconomic problem emerging from four sensitive border districts of Punjab over a period of two years, which has been brought to the attention of the Ministry by the concerned CAPF.
Firstly, no motive can be ascribed to a letter issued by the Home Ministry to a particular State or States as this is part of routine communication over Law and Order issues. This letter was also forwarded to the Secretary, Union Ministry of Labour & Employment with a request to carry out a sensitization exercise in all States, with an aim to check the duping of vulnerable victims at the hands of unscrupulous elements.
Some of the news reports about the letter have juxtaposed in a totally unrelated context to conclude that the MHA had framed “grave charges” against the farmers of Punjab and has also connected this with the ongoing farmers’ agitation. The letter clearly and only states that “human trafficking syndicates” hire such labourers and they are “exploited, paid poorly and meted out inhuman treatment” besides luring them with drugs to extract more labour affecting their “physical and mental health”.
Keeping in view the multi-dimensional and overwhelming enormity of the problem, the Ministry reiterated that they only requested the State Government(s) to “take suitable measures to address this serious problem”.