Sunday, August 28, 2016

Heart-wrenching tale of a Tamil Nadu boy forced to beg to pay for a bribe...

In the village of Koonathur, 15-year-old Ajith makes his way through an MTC bus, clutching a broken piece of a pot. Waving it at passengers, the coins jingle as he earns the day’s alms.

When he is not aboard a bus, he sits in front of a banner written in Tamil.

The banner reads – “I am in no position to repay the money borrowed for my father's last rites. I have been asked to pay Rs. 3,000 as bribe to the administration to get the Rs 12,500 that my family is entitled to. Please help.”

His father, Kolanji, had died last year from kidney failure and had left behind a mountain of debt from his eldest daughter’s marriage. Under the farmers’ social security scheme, Kolanji’s kin is entitled to Rs 12,500. The cheque was made out in his mother’s name, who was working as a labourer in Mumbai and therefore could not come to the village.

 “I walked into the office with my uncle and asked the Village Administrative Officer for the entitled money. He asked me for a bribe of Rs 3000 openly. I said I could not pay it. I have no money, no home, nothing,” Ajith said, speaking to TNM. More + video...

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