Tamil Nadu

Bonded labourers rescued from Tiruttani

Tiruttani Revenue Divisional Officer M. Sathya and a team of policemen raided the unit and rescued the bonded labourers. Photo: Special arrangement  

A total of 7 bonded labourers, including three childten, were rescued from a wood cutting unit in Kodivalli village near Kanagamachathiram in Tiruttani on Thursday by Tirutanni Revenue officials and police.

Ten others who were working in the unit were also rescued during the operation. It is alleged that the owner had also sexually abused some of the women workers and made all of them work during the lockdown.

According to Tiruttani revenue, officials, staff of the International Justice Mission received information about bonded labourers present in a woodcutting unit run by Ramesh of Arakkonam in Kodivalli village and it was conveyed to M. Sathya, Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO), Tiruttani. She and a team of policemen raided the unit.

"There were a total of 17 of them including six children. When we inquired, they said that only seven from Ramapuram village in Tiruttani were bonded labourers as they had taken an advance of ₹20,000 from the owner. This included three child labourers. The other 10 claimed that they were rescued by Ranipet RDO in 2014 and given release certificates. Now they have been working for daily wages," said Ms. Sathya.

The seven bonded labourers reportedly told the officials that they left the unit some time ago due to the torture meted out against them, but the owner came to their village and brought them back to the Unit. “Many children wanted to study, but Ramesh verbally abused them and even passed casteist remarks. They claim they were forcibly taken back to the unit”, she added.

Some of the women workers also alleged sexual harassment by the owner. “He used to pay them ₹500 every three weeks. This is sheer torture and they were struggling for food,: added Ms. Sathya. She said that apart from cases under Bonded Labour System Abolition Act, Ramesh will be booked for sexual harassment, child labour and even under Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

All the 17 are at the RDO office and further investigation is on.

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Printable version | Nov 24, 2020 10:01:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/bonded-labourers-rescued-from-tiruttani/article32916963.ece

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