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Police investigate Som Distilleries over allegations of employing children

A case under juvenile justice and bonded labour laws was filed on Sunday, one police officer said, a day after the National Commission for Protection Of Child Rights (NCPCR) said it had found more than 50 children in the plant.
Last Updated : 17 June 2024, 16:02 IST

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New Delhi: Police said on Monday they had launched an investigation into India's Som Distilleries and Breweries Ltd after the government's child rights agency announced it had found children working at a distillery.

A case under juvenile justice and bonded labour laws was filed on Sunday, one police officer said, a day after the National Commission for Protection Of Child Rights (NCPCR) said it had found more than 50 children in the plant.

Som, which makes Hunter and Woodpecker beer, did not respond to calls requesting comment on Monday, a public holiday. There was also no response to calls to Som Group CEO Deepak Arora.

The NCPCR, a federal government agency, said it had inspected the site in Raisen district in the central state of Madhya Pradesh after a complaint from child rights activists.

"More than 50 children were found working in the manufacture of liquor, including 20 girls," NCPCR chairperson Priyank Kanoongo wrote on X on Saturday.

"Due to being in contact with chemicals, the skin of many children's hands has also been burnt. Action is being taken to rescue the children and register" a police complaint, he added.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Mohan Yadav said the case was "very serious" and "strictest action will be taken against the culprits".

District labour officer G.S. Mehdele said the ages of 59 workers was being verified to determine if they were under-age.

The Raisen operation is Som's largest plant in India with distillation, storage and maturation facilities, according to the company's website.

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Published 17 June 2024, 16:02 IST

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