Barbers by Upper Caste Community and Bonded Labor System in Orissa, India


The Human Rights Activist and the activist who has spearheaded struggles of Barbers Movement, in Puri district, Orissa, Mr Baghambar Patnaik is now in Jharpada Special Jail (Bhubaneswar) protesting against the state government's inaction to declare the barbers as Bonded Labourer and the non-implementation of Bonded Labour Act 1976 in the state. Mr Pattnaik was arrested on 4th October 2005 after leading the silent rally of more than 300 barbers. This rally comes in the aftermath of the incident at Bhubanapati village in Bramhagiri on September 19,2005 in which several women of the barber community were dragged by their hair by the upper castes, ostensibly for their refusal to perpetrate the discriminatory practice. It is to be noted that 82 families of barbers in 17
villages of Puri are being socially and economically boycotted by the upper castes after the former's refusal to continue the age-old practice of washing feet and other inhuman and degrading traditions. Though the police and the state administration are ready to release Mr Pattnaik on bail but he has resolved not to accept bail till the barbers are declared as bonded laborers and are free from the clutches of the upper castes. The movement on this issue is continuing since last 5 years.

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