While almost all media houses reported the ‘heroics’ of the officials, for the rescued bonded labours, who do not know a word of Tamil, the rescue operation was far worse an ordeal than being at the hands of their exploiters. They were lodged in government homes for four days before finally sent back to their home, thanks to the officials, who did not know the process of repatriation.
It was learnt that some of the rescued labourers, tired of being confined in homes, expressed opposition and some threatened to commit suicide if their repatriation was delayed. Luckily for the officials and the rescued labours, one-stop crisis team of Chennai district entered the scene.
“We sent 16 of the rescued bonded labourers home on the same day. As the officials acted recklessly and were oblivious of the procedures to repatriate other State labourers, the rest of the labourers had to be held in the city for four more days,” a source said.
Finally, when the team arranged a train compartment for the labours, they were happier to bid adieu to the city that exploited them and also the officials, who made them wait, according to eyewitnesses.
—Rudhran Baraasu, Chennai