THOOTHUKUDI: Six employees of a private micro-financing firm were booked for holding five women captive in a house in Kovilpatti as they allegedly failed to pay the dues during the lockdown period. The women were released only after the press persons reached the spot.
Sources said that the women, residing in Gandhi Nagar area, are mostly safety match workers and their husbands are autorickshaw riders. "As many as six staff had entered into the house of M Chitra, the head of Kasthuri Women Group, by 6 am and locked five women and told them that they would be freed only after they bring back the money that was borrowed," they said.
The micro-financing staff left them after press persons reached the spot to cover the incident, said sources.
In a complaint lodged at Kovilpatti West police station, M Chitra, said that the private micro-financing staff locked five of them inside her house and urged them to clear the dues.
"They also verbally abused us for not paying the installments. They urged us to pay the installments somehow at least by borrowing from money lenders. Our husbands are jobless due to the lockdown induced by the COVID-19 pandemic," she said.
Acting on the complaint, Kovilpatti West police registered an FIR under section 147, 452, 294 (b), 506(1) of IPC and section 4 of Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act, 2002, against six staff of IDFC micro-financing unit.
Meanwhile, Social Welfare and Women Empowerment minister Geetha Jeevan told presspersons that strict action would be taken if micro-financing employees coerced women in villages to repay the installments amid lockdown. Citing Chief Minister MK Stalin's statements and RBI directions, the minister said micro-financiers should provide six months moratorium for collecting installments, and should never torture women, she added.