Horrific images of physical assault on labourers in a brick kiln emerged on Monday evening from Tiruvallur district in Tamil Nadu. It showed injured men and women, with blood spilling from their limbs, as a result of violence against them by the owner of kiln and DMK functionary Munuswamy.
Tiruvallur Superintendent of Police P Aravindhan told TNM that the labourers had been rescued from the kiln soon after the police received the images.
"There were over 300 labourers in the kiln and a majority of them were from Odisha, while others were from Uttar Pradesh and Chattisgarh," says the Superintendent of police. "The incident happened at 4.30 am on Monday when four of them were beaten up by the owner and his men. They have taken pictures after this and sent it to people they know in their home state. The nodal officer in Chennai was then alerted and we got information about this incident," he adds.
On Monday evening, the police rescued the labourers and sent those injured to the hospital. Following this, one of the men who attacked the labourers was also arrested. The owner however is absconding.
"Upon investigation we found that these labourers had been working at the kiln for 6 months and they wanted to go back to their hometowns. The owner was against this and wanted them to stay till their work was done. So this led to an altercation," says the SP. "We have now registered them in the government portal and they will be leaving on May 23," he adds.
The owner of the kiln has been booked under sections 294(B) ( sings, recites or utters any obscene song, ballad or words), 324 ( Voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means), 506 (1) ( threat be to cause death or grievous hurt,) and 341 (Punishment for wrongful restraint) of the Indian Penal Code.
The district Sub Collector Ratna further told TNM that it was not a case of bonded labour as per their investigations and that the labourers will be sent home if they wished to leave.