CHENNAI: A week after a group of bonded labourers were rescued from a saw mill, the police found that the 13-year-old daughter of a bonded labourer couple, was being sexually assaulted over several weeks by the owner. The 48-year-old owner has now been booked under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
However, the incident first came to light only when an NGO tipped off the Kancheepuram revenue divisional officers about bonded labourers working at the saw mill. A team of revenue officials headed by (RDO) Muthu Vadivel and the police, conducted a raid at a timber godown near a village off the East Coast Road and found that the godown owner had employed 31 labourers, including seven women, seven men and 17 children, out of which 6 girls were rescued.
Following which, the Kelambakkam police registered a case and arrested the owner under the Bonded Labourers act. The labourers were employed for low salary and after the rescue, were sent to government hospital for a medical check-up. “It was then, the doctor found that the minor girl was sexually assaulted for several weeks,” said the police officer.
During investigation, it was found that the victim’s parents worked as labourers at the saw mill a year ago. “The labourers worked at the saw mill situated off East Coast Road and the owner would take the victim to his house which is situated in another place on the pretext of doing house work. He then took the girl to the guest house where he sexually assaulted her and threatened her not to tell anybody,” said the officer.
Based on the medical report and a complaint from the girl’s parents, the police registered a case under the POCSO Act. Police are also investigating if the owner sexually assaulted any other women.