Chennai: Six children including 15 persons belonging to three families employed in a rice mill as bonded labourers were rescued on Tuesday by the authorities of the Revenue department in Vellore.
A team of officials led by Vellore Sub-Collector K Megaraj inspected a rice mill at Marthanadakuppam, Katpadi in Vellore district. The rice mill belonged to one Pasupathi. a total of fifteen labourers- four men, four women and six children’s were rescued after four years in bondage.
One family was from Sethilapakkam, Tiruvallur district and two families were from KBR Puram in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh.
Sub Collector K Megaraj said, “Based on a tip-off that three families from Tamilnadu and Andhra Pradesh were forced into slavery, the Vellore revenue officials and the local police conducted a surprise inspection on a rice mill in Marthandakuppam. rescuing the families. Each family had received an advance of Rs. 50,000 from the owner four years ago, paid each family a menial wage of Rs. 300 a month. They were exploited day and night in the mill.”
Their movement was restricted. The labourers were not allowed to leave the facility during family functions and festivals. They were not allowed to go to the hospital when they were sick. The labourers reported verbal and physical abuse at the worksite,” said a source.
Officials from the Revenue, Rural Development and representatives of International Justice Mission (IJM), an NGO, and the Bonded Labour Vigilance Committee too accompanied the Sub-Collector in the operation.
The rescued bonded labourers await their Release Certificates at the Revenue Divisional Office, following which they will be sent back to their home. Rehabilitation and other important necessities like an Aadhar card, ration card, etc, will be given with the assistance of the revenue officials, sources said.
The Revenue department officials informed that a police complaint would be lodged against the mill owner Pasupathi and would be booked under the relevant sections of The Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976....