Krishnagiri: More details are coming out of the sordid episode of tribal boys from Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri districts sold to become bonded labour.
This may sound incredible, but true. A boy who was kidnapped by agents of the bonded labour system and later handed over to police by his abductors themselves under societal pressure, has alleged that he was sold for Rs 6,000, as though that is the worth of human life here.
It was a trauma for 12-year-old tribal boy K. Madesh of Kottaiyur Kollai tribal colony in Bettamugilalam village of Denkannikottai taluk in Krishnagiri district who went missing a week ago.
Fight over the boy missing issue between the victim's father C. Kattikhan (45) and his relatives J. Byrappa (48) of Perunkadu village, near Marandahalli of Dharmapuri, his son B. Chinnapayan @ Madesh and Byrappa’s younger brother J. Madhappan @ Siddhan (45) has highlighted the plight of village minor boys sent to work under bonded labour system.
The boy alleged that he was taken from his village by Madhappan @ Siddhan, his wife Kenchamma (35) and another person. They transported him in a two-wheeler to Perungadu village, near Marandahalli of Dharmapuri district.
“They asked me to accompany them and took me to the house of Byrappa’s second wife Madhamma (stays at Perungadu) and then I was handed over to him,” Madesh cried. “Madhappan and his wife Kenchamma left me in the custody of Byrappa and promised to return and take me home but they never turned up,” he added in tears.
The tribal boy also alleged that his first abductors had sold him for a sum of Rs 6,000 to Byrappa who later shifted him to Yeshwanthpura, near Bengaluru in neighbouring Karnataka and where his first wife Rudhramma stays.
Another such case was also reported in this tribal colony at Kottaiyur Kollai. Shockingly, the victim was none other than the 13-year-old Rudhran, son of Madhappan and Kenchamma, former bonded labour and now doubted as agents recruiting people for the slavery system.
Kenchamma admitted that her son was sent with Byrappa who is the elder brother of her husband. The couple was quietly paid Rs 15,000 by Byrappa.
In 2018, Madhappa, his wife Kenchamma (35), their nine children including seven girls were after great effort rescued from bonded labour by an NGO working for this cause.
However, in a twist of fate, Madhappa and his wife Kenchamma had ‘forgotten’ their miserable past as bonded workers once and joined with Byrappa to operate as ‘brokers’ to recruit people for the slavery system, alleged a source familiar with the development. That is the tragedy of rural interiors of Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri districts today.
SP’S RESPONSE: However, the Krishnagiri district superintendent of police Sri Bandi Ganghadar, in a statement on Monday has denied reports of minor tribal boys kidnapped and sold for cash to be pushed into bonded labour.
Sri Gangadhar said that the enquiry conducted by the government officials has proved no such occurrences in the village as reported in the media. He also said that the villagers have assured to cooperate with the police and revenue department if they come across any such inhuman incidents in any of their villages....