4 children rescued from bonded labour

The Times of India News Service

KOLAR: The police detected a case of bonded labour and secured the release of four children in the age group of 6-12 years here at Melur village of Shidlaghatta taluk on Friday.

Acting on an anonymous call on Friday evening, the police raided the house of Narayanaswamy and got Muninarayana (12), Marimuthu (10), Mani (8) and Narayanaswamy (6) released. The accused is at large.

The children were made to slog for over 10 hours a day without enough food or clothing.

The police said Narayanaswamy, who runs a poultry and piggery unit, had employed a couple from Parlakonda Harasi village in Vellore taluk of Tamil Nadu in his unit as daily wagers. The couple reportedly borrowed a loan of a few thousand rupees but could not repay on time. The interest grew and the principal amount swelled up to Rs 6,000. The helpless couple, who wanted to return to their village, agreed to their employer's condition to leave two of their children -- Muninarayana and Marimuthu -- with him six years back and left the village.

What followed later was not a hunky-dory existence for the two children. They were made to roam around Shidlaghatta to pick hotel wastes used as fodder for pigs. They were shouted down by Narayanaswamy for small `mistakes' and were even tortured physically often. However, their parents were allowed to see their children on a few occasions.

Unaware of the torture meted out to their children, the couple brought two more kids -- Mani and Narayanaswamy -- a year back and left them with Narayanaswamy to work in his unit. Soon, Mani and Narayanaswamy's fate followed that of their siblings.

Shidlaghatta Rural Sub-inspector Sampath Kumar who received the anonymous call informed DySP Ramesh Kumar about the crime. The latter immediately conducted the raid and got the children released.

The police have taken serious note of the crime as it also falls in the purview of child labour and are on the look-out for the accused.

The village is a native of Mines and Geology Minister V. Muniyappa. Despite the district administration's drives to educate people on bonded labour, none of the villagers informed the district authorities about the crime.

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Referred by: Mukundan CM
Published on: June 12, 2001
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