A powerful syndicate of money lenders, supported by powerloom owners, is actively behind the brutal murder of Velusamy, CPI (M) branch secretary of Pallipalayam unit in Namakkal district, on March 10, according to an eight-member team from Centre for Protection of Civil Liberties-Tamil Nadu (CPCL), which went into the factors behind the murder.
They found out that nearly 1.50 lakh workers in more than 50,000 units were working as bonded labourers in Pallipalayam, Komarapalayam, Vediarasampalayam,Veppadai, Avarankadu, Kokkarayanpettai and Agraharam areas. Exploiting the poverty, the money lenders became powerful. While joining looms, the workers, many of them children, would be given advances for which 15 to 30 per cent of interest would be levied. The rest would be deducted from their wages. “Hence, the workers have no other option but to depend on the money lenders who thoroughly exploit them,” said P. Damayanthi, a lawyer and a member in the team.
She said that there were incidents in which poor workers were forced to sell their kidneys to beneficiaries. The team members said that the women members of the family would be subjected to sexual abuses when their husbands or fathers failed to pay the interest.
In one such incident an 18- year old daughter of a woman who got loans from a money lender was sexually abused and the same was put up on a site too.
“When Velusamy took up the case against these lenders, he was brutally murdered,” the members claimed.
They urged the government to ask CB CID to initiate action against those police officials who were on duty at the time of the murder.