Rescued for life from the ‘Rabbit hole’ – The New Indian Express

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Imagine, having an ineffable pain breaking your confidence every day for seven long years. Finally, one day you are rescued and you start to dream again…“I will do whatever it takes to educate my six-year-old daughter. She will never be exploited like me,” says Bavani, one among the 13 bonded labourers, rescued from a rabbit and poultry farm. 

Most days, they will work for 17 hours toiling hard to make ends meet, and still make a meagre amount less than Rs 100 per day per family. Hands that should hold a book were busy handling rabbits- the kids too toiled hard. The revenue department of Tiruvallur rescued 13 persons, including six children, from bonded labour at a rabbit and poultry in the district, during the third week of December. Most of them have no identity proof or bank accounts, let alone know how to count years or money. 

For the first time in seven years, the rescue has given them a chance at identity within the system. Applications are en route for getting Aadhar, ration card, Schedule Tribe (ST) community certificates and a bank account. For the last many years, work has been an arduous but choiceless task for Bavani and her husband. “We were in dire need of money. We received an advance of a few thousand rupees and joined the rabbit farm. We were promised Rs 3,000 a month,” she says. The couple used to get Rs