Published: 15th November 2018
Nine-year-old spends half a decade as bonded labour for a Rs 2,000 loan
Arul was produced before the Tirupattur Sub-Collector and was enrolled in a government residential school in Tirupattur. Release certificate and a few sets of school uniforms were also given to him
Arulkumar S was five when his father forced him to bondage labour as collateral for just Rs 2,000 in Vellore. The father, Saravanan, died after two years without repaying the loan and Arul was stuck as a bonded labour. The nine-year-old tribal boy was rescued after spending five years as a forced labour and was admitted to a government residential school at Tirupattur on November 14.
While his mother, Valli, tried to track him down and bring home, Arul was again forced into bondage by his owner, Babu. His work was to herd ducks across four districts and was forced to lead a semi-nomadic life. "The issue surfaced when a team from Adivasi Council, a tribal network engaged in conducting surveys and gathering data of tribal people, met Arul's mother at her village during a survey and learned that her son was working in Krishnagiri district and had not come back home since he left her," said K Krishnan, executive director of Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD).
"We began searching for Arul six months back and found his location only a week ago after getting in touch with the owner's family. We formed a team with the police, revenue department officials, and FSD members on Monday, and located the boy, who was found herding ducks near Devasamuthiram village in Krishnagiri around 11.00 am. He was rescued and produced at the office of sub-collector in Tirupattur," he added.
"Babu, Arul's 'owner', reportedly went to Erode when the rescue was carried out. A complaint was registered with police attached to Krishnagiri town station by Village Administrative Officer of Krishnagiri town. The police registered a case against Babu under the Bonded Labour System Abolition Act," said Revenue Divisional Officer N Saravanan.
Arul was produced before the Tirupattur Sub-Collector and was enrolled in a government residential school in Tirupattur. Release certificate and a few sets of school uniforms were also given to him. A case under the Child Labour Prohibition Act and IPC were also invoked against the owner, Babu.