KOLKATA: A three-and half-year old girl from Purulia district of West Bengal, who was allegedly raped, tortured by inserting needles and made a 'voodoo doll' by her mother's employer, died at a hospital here on Friday morning two days after seven four-inch-long needles were taken out from her organs.
While two needles were found inside her liver and urinary bladder, one each was found in her kidney, vagina and lower abdomen. The accused, 62-year-old Sanatan Thakur, is still at large.
"A case under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act (POCSO) was booked. Now, Section 304 (culpable homicide) of IPC has been added to it. We are trying to nab the accused," Purulia superintendent of police Joy Biswas told the New Indian Express.
Though the death is believed to be due to puncturing of the organs, doctors can ascertain the cause of death only after the post-mortem. "The wounds indicate that seven needles were pierced. All of them specifically aimed at different organs inside the body," a doctor in the government hospital said.
Locals of Kenda village where the 26-year-old divorced mother of the deceased worked as domestic help of the accused former home-guard, have claimed that Sanatan Thakur practiced black magic.
Police sources revealed that the mother of the girl will also be interrogated over her alleged role in the incident.
West Bengal Commission for Protection of Child Rights chairperson Ananya Chatterjee-Chakraborty says women, more so girl child, are the most vulnerable to abuses.
"The mother of the abused three-year-old posed as a domestic worker but actually lived with the accused. They had married according to Vaishnav rituals,” she says.
It may be recalled that a Bengali Muslim domestic help named Zohra Bibi was abused in Noida's Mahagun Modern Society earlier this month and it had led to widespread rioting between the posh gated community and the surrounding impoverished slums.
The incident throws light at the dark world of exploitation and abuse in the world of domestic help.
"We Indians feel sad when we hear of abuse of migrant Indians in West Asia but are ignorant of the abuse domestic workers from villages have to face in big cities. We turn a blind eye to the class divide and the feudal mindset that works while most of us deal with domestic workers at our homes," said Shilpa Banerjee, a social worker working with domestic workers in Kolkata.