Hyderabad: As many as 250 children, including 10 girls from Bihar, who were forced to work as child labourers in hazardous industries were on Saturday rescued from Old City here, police said.
Fifteen persons, who worked as middlemen and pushed the minors into child labour, have been rounded up in this connection, they said.
The children were rescued during a massive cordon and search operation carried out by South Zone police in different areas of Old City. All the rescued minors were sent to rescue homes and efforts were being made to contact their parents, a senior police officer said.
"Keeping in view of an IB alert ahead of the Republic Day, we carried out searches to nab habitual criminals. We found these children, aged between 8-13 years kept in rooms of some rowdies. They were being exploited and forced to work in hazardous industries," Deputy Commissioner of Police (South Zone) V Satyanarayana told PTI.
Most of the children are from districts of Bihar, including Gaya and these children were brought to the city after giving an advance ranging between Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 from Bihar, the DCP said. The operation is still underway.
To keep a check on anti-social elements and to induce a sense of security among people, Cyberabad and Hyderabad Police have been conducting massive search operations in different parts of the city for the past several months based on information that few pockets have turned out to be shelters for criminals like property offenders, snatchers and those indulging in other illegal activities.
Satyanarayana said, police have rounded up Yaseen Pehalwan and 14 others, who worked as middlemen and business owners, engaged in bringing the boys from Bihar and forcing them work in bangle manufacturing houses of Talab Katta localities on low salaries.
"All of them admitted that they had been bringing the boys from the different districts like Gaya, Jehanabad, Nalanda and Nawada in Bihar and forcing them work at bangles manufacturing units by paying minimum salaries to them," he said.
The search parties have thoroughly checked Pehalwan's house situated in Aman Nagar and found a number of minor boys sleeping in the rooms of his three-storied building.
"The search parties found total 159 minor boys in this building," he said, adding that they also rescued other children from the houses of 14 others.
All the boys were examined by the police parties. The
minors stated that they were lured and brought to Hyderabad to work in the bangle manufacturing houses of Talab Katta localities for monthly salary of Rs 1,500 each, he said.
The children told the police that they neither know their business owners, nor know how much salaries they get from their employers.
"The mediator, who is providing shelter to them, had been receiving their salaries from the business owners and paying each child Rs 1,500 per month," the DCP said.
These brokers least cared about the children, who were accommodated in small rooms, where bangle production work is done.
"About 15 to 20 children were allocated one small room which was full of noxious chemical contamination," Satyanarayana said.
"Majority of the child labourers are unable to express their pain as well as their whereabouts. Most of them are suffering from various chronic skin and lung-related deceases," he said.
CCTV cameras were installed to monitor these child labourers. If any child due to any reason whatsoever failed to perform their work well, they were mercilessly punished, the senior police officer said.
The South Zone police registered 14 cases against those rounded up under section 370 IPC and Section 26 of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act for exploitation of juvenile for the purpose of hazardous employment.
During the search operation, houses of notorious rowdy sheeters were also searched which resulted in seizure of swords. Police also carried out raids on the house of illegal money lenders and apprehended some of them.