Tamil Nadu: Govt Rescues 42 Bonded Labourers, 'Owner' Family Sends Goons To Threaten Them
Forty-two bonded labourers who were rescued from two separate woodcutting units in Tamil Nadu’s Kancheepuram and Vellore district were threatened by their former ‘owners’.
The labourers who were rescued on the night of July 10, started receiving threats from the people who kept them in bondage for years.
Kasi, a resident of Periyakarumbur village near Kancheepuram, said, “last night itself, people close to the owner came and threatened us. We are afraid that they will harm us.” 70-year-old Kasi has worked as a bonded labourer, for several years, for a loan of Rs 20,000.
The rescued people belonged to 13 families, with a total of 16 children. They had been kept as bonded labourers by Nataraj of Olungavadi in Kancheepuram and his close relatives for the past five years.
When revenue official arrived at the woodcutting unit, following a tip-off from an NGO, feared and hopeless Kasi fell down on the feet of revenue officials. Kasi begged the officials to free him and other people from bondage.
The 70-year-old, who accompanied the officials during the rescue operation, was rescued along with 27 other people including 10 children belonging to eight families. The operation in Kancheepuram was carried by sub-collector A Saravanan.
In another rescue operation by Ranipet sub-collector Elambahavath, 14 people, including six children belonging to five families were rescued from a woodcutting unit at Paruvamedu village in Nemili taluk in Vellore district.
The rescue operation in both the districts was carried out simultaneously to avoid the leak of information since the people who held the families bondage are close relatives.
The Logical Indian Take
According to the 2016 Global Slavery Index, there are an estimated 18 million people enslaved in India, close to 46 million all across the world.
Further, the labourers rescued from Vellore and Kancheepuram districts were restricted to a limited place, children were denied education and were provided minimal food for survival.
It is appalling that even in the 21st century bonded labour is still in practice. When will this inhuman practise end?