Chained. Shackled. Fettered. Virtually caged at a dairy farm in 64 Qillae at Fatehpur near Amritsar in Punjab.
That’s the story of 23-year Jasveer Singh who had been spending sleepless nights for the last five years along with his wife Bajit Kaur and three little children – aged 6,4 and 2 years.
Rescued by Bachpan Bachao Andolan following a raid carried out in close coordination with the district police and civil administration on Thursday, Jasveer has walked free again along with his family who have been subjected to inhuman cruelty all these years. The owner of the dairy farm is however on the run and the police has mounted a manhunt to nab him.
BBA’s Assistant Venture Officer from Victim Assistance Division Dinesh Kumar said the raid was carried out based on instructions from National Human Rights Commission. Jasveer was found to be chained during the raid and rescue operation.
Jasveer Singh alongside along with his spouse Baljeet Kaur and three children were holed up inside the dairy for over 5 years. The children were not allowed to step out and go to school.
A bonded labourer, Jasveer had taken an advance of Rs 10,000 in 2016 from the dairy owner who in return had told Jasveer that he would deduct money for slippages at work from his monthly salary of Rs 3,000. Jasveer and his family’s ordeal began when he asked his employer to return the sale money of his land that he had kept in his employer’s safe custody. Soon after his employer enslaved him and his family into bonded labour.
Jasveer and his family were tasked to take care of 110 cows in the farm and milk them, and scrubbing the cattle shed in addition to other assigned work. The day by day grind of the household started at 6 am to three pm after which from 4 pm to midnight.
He used to be tied up for rest of the time so that he couldn’t go out and be available for duty round the clock. None of his family members were allowed to step out of the dairy either.
The torture didn’t end there. Whenever he fell sick, his employer would deduct Rs 300 per day from his monthly wages.
Along with Jasveer and his family, another child who had been employed at the dairy was also rescued.