Odisha Sun Times Bureau:
Sonepur, Dec 19:
‘‘I was raped and my husband was murdered after abduction,’’ Kumari, deceased labourer Bibeka Chinda’s widow, revealed in her explosive statement to mediapersons after her return to her village from Hyderabad on Thursday.
Kumari’s revelation substantiates Bibeka’s account of the torture meted out to her in the hands of labour contractors of an Andhra Pradesh-based brick kiln. Bibeka, who succumbed to his burn injuries on Sunday night, had narrated his ordeal to mediapersons and police moments shortly before his death.
‘‘A labour contractor, Sarat, from Khalipatra village under Patnagarh police station limits raped me twice in front of my sons at Rangapur brick kiln. I was also subjected to physical torture and kept in confinement without food,’’ Kumari said.
Bibeka had claimed that his wife was gangraped and two minor sons killed by the labour contractor and his men. However, his statement has now been proved wrong as his two sons are alive.
‘‘My husband did not commit suicide; he has been murdered after setting him on fire,’’ Kumari claimed.
The migrant labourer’s family, who hails from Uma village under Kantamal block in Boudh district, had moved to the neighbouring state to work in a brick kiln. A labour contractor from Odisha had employed the couple in the brick kiln.
Bibeka, along with his family, was forced to migrate due to abject poverty. He was doing odd jobs to feed his family of eight. As he could not meet his basic needs, the family was searching for alternative options to eke out a living.
‘‘My husband had to pledge his and my father-in-laws BPL cards before the moneylender for Rs 3000 a year ago. He also did bamboo work to earn his bread. But these were not enough to fulfil our daily requirements,’’ Kumari added.
‘‘I will be forced to sell my two daughters if the government does not provide assistance to me,’’ said the hapless woman.
However, the district administration has assured that the poverty-stricken family will be provided with house and covered under social welfare programmes.
As per reports, Bibeka had received an advance of Rs 25, 000 from labour contractors Sunder and Fakir from Belpara and Jamutar respectively as part of the deal to work at Rangapur brick kiln in Andhra Pradesh. With this money, Bibeka freed the mortgaged BPL cards and cleared other debts before leaving for the new assignment on December 3.
Bibeka had said that after working for some days, he realised that the agent who had taken him to Hyderabad and the owner of the brick kiln where he was employed, had cast an evil eye on his wife.
Unable to bear the brutality, Bibeka tried to commit suicide by holding a live wire and sustained severe burn injuries in the process.
It may be recalled here that Bibeka died late on Sunday night when he was being shifted to VSS Medical College and Hospital in Burla.
Doctors of the district headquarters hospital who attended Chinda, said his injuries had been severe and infection had spread all over the body due to lack of treatment. He was admitted in a very critical condition but he died on the way to VSS Medical College and Hospital.