Hyderabad: The Rachakonda Police rescued 11 children, between the ages of eight and 18 years, who were being held against their will and used as labour, in Plaster of Paris (POP) manufacturing units situated under the limits of Pasumamula village of Hayathnagar mandal, Ranga Reddy district. The accused, named Ramlal, Pankaj Kumar and Etukala Jagan Mohan Reddy, who were said to be the owners of these units were arrested under the U/S 370 (2), 374 IPC, Section 79 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 and the Child Labour Act, 1986, in the raid that was held on Monday.

Police said that a team from the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of Rachakonda along with the members of the District Child Probation Unit, Bachpan Bachao Andolan and Spandana Children society members held joint raids at the Mahesh Zypsam Plaster Company and the Sri Pavan Putra Plaster Company and rescued 11 child labourers belonging to Uttar Pradesh; seven from the first unit and four from the other. All the children were being detained in sheds located within the premises of these units. Ramlal was the owner of the Mahesh Zypsam Plaster Company while Pankaj Kumar and Etukala Jagan Mohan Reddy were in charge of the Sri Pavan Putra Plaster Company.

Ramlal, a native of Rishta, Bairai District in UP, was running the POP unit by renting a shed at Kala Nagar, Pasumamula, Hayathnagar mandal. Etukala Jagan Mohan Reddy was also running a similar business in the same village and Pankaj Kumar was the supervisor who had brought the children from UP. Both companies manufactured the Plaster of Paris sheets which are used as a false ceiling in the construction of buildings.

Workers at such units are usually made to work for 14 hours straight which the locals are opposed to. Hence the owners of these companies bring in labour, including minors, from other states such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Chhattisgarh. The families of such children are so poor that they have no alternative to but to send their children away to work. The owners of such small scale companies take advantage of this to hire cheap labour and exploit them by making them work and live in inhumane conditions. The money that the children make is less than Rs 7 per POP sheet while for working 14 hours a day. The children are not even allowed to leave the premises.

The accused were arrested by the joint team of the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of Rachakonda Commissionerate, the Child Help Line Team, and the Hayathnagar Police.

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