Thanjavur: As many as 50 people working as bonded labourers were rescued from two brick kilns in Tamil Nadu’s Thanjavur district. 

The fifty of them belong to 33 families and the Society for Health Extension and Development (SHED) India, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), revenue divisional officer of Kumbakonam, Veerasamy, and Tahsildar (Papanasam), Kannan, along with other officials secured the release of the 50 people.

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From one brick kiln owned by a person named Sekar, 27 people including 24 adults and three children belonging to 11 families were rescued. From another brick kiln owned by Mani, 18 adults and three children belonging to eight families were rescued. All 50 belong to both Thanjavur and Ariyalur.

Deccan Chronicle quoted Sumathi, one of the labourers rescued, as saying that harassment was the only thing they faced in the brick kiln. “My husband is a diabetic. He was not allowed to take treatment, as leave was not given. I was not able to attend my brother's marriage. We borrowed Rs 50,000, but kiln owners wrote some amount according to their decision in their records, and asked our family members to work,” she said. 

One labourer said that a person had committed suicide a few years ago, unable to bear the torture at the kiln.  Despite his death, the owners brought the victim's oldest son to repay his father's debt.

The labourers also alleged that they weren't even permitted to go out, and if they did, they would be subject to physical assault. Officials conducted inquiries only to find that many of them had been working between 10 to 15 years.

The labourers were brought to Papanasam taluk office, and then sent to their respective villages before being given release certificates. 

Owners of the kilns were not present when revenue officials went to their places. Kabisthalam police registered a case and are investigating.