Bengaluru: 52 Dalits and Tribals who were held hostage for three years in Karnataka have been rescued. News 18 reported that the Dalits and Tribals were finally rescued from a shed in Hassan.  One among them managed to escape from captivity and reported the crime to local police. Raids were conducted at a small hut in the Hassan area of Karnataka on Sunday and others were rescued.

The Karnataka police arrested Munesha, one of the four accused, and his helper for holding the 52 people captive. Munesha had also been also charged with running an organised human trafficking racket. A FIR has been registered against both of them under sections 323, 324 (wrongful confinement), 344 (theft), 356 (sexual harassment) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Bonded Labour System (Abolition Act) and the SC, ST (Prevention of Atrocities Act). 

Reportedly, the Dalits and Tribals had to work around19 hours in a day without pay. If the labourers tried to protest, they were be beaten up brutally with a horse whip and abused sexually. 

The last set of victims who were held captive had been living there for a month. Two six-year-old boys are the youngest victims in the case while the oldest is a 62-year-old man named Ganesha.

The people lived there for past three years in inhuman conditions. Just a single pipe was placed in the corner of the shed to be used as a toilet. 

As per reports, the gang including two auto drivers would target migrant workers from different states including Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh at railway stations by offering them a day's work for Rs 600 or so. Later these migrants would be taken and enslaved. 

Once they reach the shed, the gang strip them off their belongings including clothes, identity cards, phones and money. They also threatened that their attempts to escape would lead to violence.

As per reports, the labourers were provided three meals a day as payment. The men would sometimes get local alcohol. 

They would be locked in a shed observed by four people during the night to prevent rescue attempts. The beatings intimidated them from speaking about their plight.

The police said that the two vehicles used by Munesha to transport the migrant workers from one workplace to another was seized.