A seven-year-old boy from Tamil Nadu who was reportedly given away as security by his father for Rs 20,000 loan six months ago was rescued from a cattle farmer on Wednesday in Krishnagiri district of the state.
Though the locals alleged that the boy was “sold” off, S Priya, chief of the Child Labour Project, told NDTV that the boy might have given as security till his father repaid the Rs 20,000 loan.
Local people alerted a non-profit organisation and local child welfare authorities after they found the seven-year-old rearing the villager’s herd of 50 sheeps.
“A probe has been ordered,” S Priya said.
According to the district officials, the boy’s father was unable to take proper care of his son, who had lost his mother, and therefore gave him away in exchange of Rs 20,000. A migrant from the neighbouring Dharmapuri district, the child was living with his alcoholic father and an aunt, NDTV report further said.
The boy has been sent to a children’s home and officials are now looking for his siblings – an older sister and a brother.
“We are trying to rescue his brother and sister as well. The brother too, we understand was given away to another person for money. We would put them all in one school,” Priya said.
According to the Child Welfare authorities, this could be a case of bonded labour.
“No police report has been filed and the local officers are yet to step in,” child welfare personnel said.