KRISHNAGIRI: Fisticuff of three families highlight the issue of minor boys being kidnapped and then sold to a life of bondage as labours in brick kilns, plant nurseries and other industries in the neighbouring Karnataka.
“My 12 years old son Madesh went missing, a week ago and till date we could not trace him” C.Kattikhan, an Irula tribe and the father of the missing boy, who according to him, the boy was kidnapped by his relatives.
The 45-year-old Kattikhan belongs to Kottaiyur Kollai village in Bettamugilalam panchayat of Denkannikottai taluk of Krishnagiri added “Madesh studied in class six and stayed in the house due to school holidays. We thought that he ran away from the home for the reason of our poverty.”
This later turned as the case of kidnap. He was abducted when the boy's family members working as farm hand were not at home. Three of his relatives lured him with false promise of giving good fortune, took the boy with them to an unknown destination, and may be to Yeshwanthpura in Bengaluru of neighbouring Karnataka.
The incident of tribal children being kidnapped by their own relatives and sold as bonded labour, came to light due to fight between the families of missing boy's father Kattikhan with three of his relatives, J. Bayrappa (48) of Perunkadu village, near Marandahalli of Dharmapuri, his younger brother Madhappan (45) of Kottaiyur Kollai tribal colony and their relative M. Chinnapayan.
The trio had beaten up Kattikhan when the missing Madesh's father had questioned them to know about the whereabouts of his son. Kattikhan gave a police complaint in this regard, which highlighted the issue.
The second case of another tribal boy like that of Madesh was also reported from Kottaiyur Kollai village. The victim was none other than 13-year-old Rudhran who was trapped by the bonded labour system and then rescued from Karnataka, last year.
“Took fifteen thousand rupees from my elder brother and sent my 13 years old son Rudhran with him. Have no details about his place of stay and the nature of work given to him,” J. Madhappa father of Rudhran told DC.
In 2018, Madhappa, his wife Kenchamma (35), their nine children including seven girls were rescued from the bonded labour system by an NGO that works for this cause.
Now, Madhappa forgetting his miserable life during the life of bondage has joined his elder brother Bayrappa and operates as brokers to recruit people for the slavery system.
According to local people in Kottaiyur Kollai tribal colony, as many as ten minor boys of their colony are missing so far. They have been allegedly
kidnapped by the broker team led by Bayrappa and sold to the owners who practice bonded labour system.
According to Ms Rudhari, broker Bayrappa and his team target minor boys because the tribals in villages across Krishnagiri are aware of them. So far, around ten boys have landed as bonded labour from Kottaiyur Kollai village. This number is likely to go up if a proper survey in tribal areas is done.