56 Bonded Labourers Including 10 Children Rescued from Brick Kiln

Published on March 17, 2014 in The Times of India

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Trichy: The revenue and police department, on Sunday, rescued 56 bonded labourers from a brick kiln on the outskirts of Kumbakonam in Thanjavur district. Steps are on to send back the bonded labourers to their respective districts. Investigation is on to arrest the brick kiln owners for subjecting the innocent people to work as bonded labourers for a meagre payment.

A joint operation by revenue officials and the police department brought the issue to light on Sunday. The official acted on a complaint from International Justice Mission (IJM), an NGO which brought the matter to the notice of the Kumbakonam sub-collector M Govindarao. The officials conducted raid at GKM Agencies a brick kiln run by one Parvathi and her four sons at Thirumalairajan river bank at Kabisthalam village in Papanasam taluk.

“A thorough interrogation with the labourers at the brick kiln brought to light that they were subjected to bonded labour for a long time. They were even paid meagre salary and were denied permission to go outside the kiln. So, we rescued them from the kiln. Police investigation is on to book the accused in connection with the case,” M Govinda Rao, sub-collector, Kumbakonam.

The bonded labourers included 23 men, 23 women, six girls and four boys. They were hailing from Ariyalur, Thiruvidaimarudhur and Thirumancheri. “We got a tip-off few backs back that the labourers were denied their basic rights. A family of two was paid Rs 500 per week as salary for their work. Moreover, some labourers were not even allowed to go outside even during emergency. All of them expect two families belonged to the scheduled caste. We then informed the IJM which brought the matter to light,” said Irulappoo Selvakumar, secretary of Irular Tribal Development Society.

The process was on to provide the immediate compensation and release certificate to them. “We will provide Rs 1,000 compensation for each labourer and issue release certificate. They will be sent to their town immediately,” Govindarao said.

Meanwhile, investigation is on to arrest the owners of the kiln and few others for subjecting those labourers as slaves.