TIRUPUR: In a shocking incident, at least 70 minors were found locked up in a private mill in Avinashi, having been brought to the district allegedly without obtaining e-pass. The youngsters were rescued by Tirupur district officials on Tuesday evening. Forty of them were unwilling to work at the facility and were being held against their will, officials said.
Social Welfare department officials said they had visited the private mill in Alathur in Avinashi after receiving a tip that minors were being held there. A team comprising officials from the Social Welfare department, Childline and police, visited the spot and found more than 70 minors at the facility.
"Most of them were between the ages of 15 and 18 and had been brought from Thiruvannamalai, Krishnagiri, Villupuram and Tiruvallur districts,” an official said. “They had brought under the pretext of earning money for their future education,” the official explained. In a closed-door meeting conducted with the children, at least 40 -- 37 girls and three boys -- said they were unwilling to work at the facility and wanted to go to college and pursue higher education.
Officials were astonished to find that some of the youngsters had written their Plus Two exams but were unaware that the results had been announced recently.
"During the discussions, we found that the employers had used underarm tactics and taken them from their families on the pretext of earning money. As most of them were being paid between Rs 4,000-Rs 5,000 per month and the amount was being sent directly to their parents, they were stuck here. We have taken written letters from the children. Alarmingly none of the children had e-pass for their arrival," the official said, adding that a girl who arrived last week didn’t possess any document.
Officials have shifted the boys to a home in Periyar Colony and girls to a home in Thanneer Padam Colony, Avinashi Road in the city. “We have also lifted their swab samples. Based on the letters and investigation, we have informed the district administration and will be filing cases against the employer in Avinashi police station soon," the official added.