New Delhi: NGO, International Justice Mission (IJM), has rescued 24 bonded labourers, including 10 children, from Karnataka’s Hassan district. According to media reports, the labourers were allegedly made to work and confined in a brick kiln in Sakleshpur by their owner for around six months. Authorities have, however, claimed that it was not a case of bonded labour.

Reports have it that the labourers were trafficked from Tamil Nadu’s Krishnagiri. When the labourers were brought at the brick kiln, they were not given a proper place to stay but were provided with tarpaulin sheets.

The owner promised Rs 500 to the men and Rs 400 to the women as their daily wages. However, the labourers were paid only Rs 75 per day.

An official from IJM told News18, “the Sakeleshpur police raided the kiln on Friday, however, the owner got tipped off and dropped the labourers at the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border the night before. The labourers then approached the NGO, which in turn pushed the Tehsildhar to conduct a thorough inquiry into the case”.

So far, no FIR has been lodged against the owner of the brick kiln.

Notably, this case comes after 52 tribals, including 17 women and four children, from Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana were rescued in Hassan district. The workers were allegedly held captive in sheds, taken to the fields for work and beaten up when wages were demanded. A gang of five people were arrested and booked under the Bonded Labour Act, Prevention of Atrocities on SC/ST Act and various IPC sections, PTI reported.