HYDERABAD: Nineteen persons belonging to three families from Balangir district of Odisha were rescued from a brick kiln in Karimnagar district of Telangana. The 19 persons, including elderly and children, were subjected to physical torture by the brick kiln owners. Some of the women members were allegedly physically tortured also.
The workers were hired by VBI brick kilns located at Chintakunta on the outskirts of Karimnagar district headquarters through a labour contractor Ganesh. It was said that Ganesh promised good pay, shelter and even school facility to the children and brought the three families to Karimnagar in November 2017.
At the brick kiln, except for one child, all the others were made to work for more than 15 hours a day. Two of them were children who were forced to work in inhumane conditions.
As the workers could not take it anymore, they demanded that they should be given a break for some days which attracted the ire of the brick kiln owner. It was alleged that the workers and their children were confined in the brick kiln from January 27 to February 3 during which they were subjected to torture.
"The management stripped me and beat me up after we asked for a break. We wanted some rest as we were couldn't work any longer in tiring condition,'' an elderly woman, Balu Chura said, with teary eyes.
Another worker, Ramesh Mahanand was thrashed severely and he suffered severe injuries in his ribs, police said.
Local NGO's came to know about the ill-treatment meted out to the workers and lodged a complaint with labour department on January 31. However, by the time officials reached there, the workers were shifted to another brick kiln in Godavari Khani of neighbouring Peddapalli district, officials said.
Officials tracked the workers to the brick kiln in Peddapalli and rescued them from the brick kiln late last night.
Child Protection Committee Karimnagar district officer Parveen told The New Indian Express that two minors were also forced to work as labour and action will be taken against the brick kiln owners under Child Labour Act too.
Police and revenue officials are taking statements from the workers and are making arrangements for shifting the migrant workers back to their native places following due procedure.