In violation of norms, 33 minor children were found working at embroidery-related cottage industries at Ram Nagar, Gandhi Camp and adjoining areas here.
The search operation was carried out on Thursday night by the city police under the directions of warrant officers deputed by the Punjab and Haryana high court.
The warrant officers had visited the area on the petitions sent by local residents alleging that a mafia was active in the area that forced minor children into bonded labour in local embroidery units.
The children were allegedly brought from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh by a gang active in the city and were forced to work 14-15 hours a day on very little emolument, petitioners had alleged.
Naresh Dogra, additional deputy commissioner of police who led the operation, told HT that the teams had found 40 children working in different units.
“Of 40, seven were above 18 years old and 33 were minors. But, nobody confirmed that they were working as bonded labourers. Parents of all children reached the spot and took the responsibility of their wards,” he said.
Dogra said: “On being asked why they were working, children said that they were doing part-time jobs to earn a living after their school hours with the consent of their parents.”
The search operation continued till late Thursday night and after recording the statement of all children and their parents, warrant officers Naresh Chander and RS Kumar had brought the situation to the notice of the high court office, Dogra said.
“Further action will be taken on the directions of the high court, if needed,” Dogra added.
Was carried out by local police after HC received a complaint alleging that a mafia active in the area forced children into bonded labour.