PANAJI: In a shocking incident, at least eight girls were found confined in a flat in Goa's Vasco city, where they were allegedly subjected to torture, including branding them with a hot knife, police said today.
The girls, all in the age group of six to 12 years, were also allegedly beaten up with a pipe by a 65-year-old woman who claimed to have adopted them, Vasco police station inspector Nolasco Raposo said.
The police had yesterday rescued the girls from the flat, located in the Baina locality of the city, with the help of an NGO and arrested the woman, identified as Venus Habib.
The trauma of the girls ended after some locals spotted one of them with injury marks on her hand during a church service on Sunday, Raposo said.
He added that the girl narrated her ordeal to the locals who, in turn, alerted the police.
"The police raided the flat owned by Habib and found seven more girls confined there.
The girls told the police that they were being assaulted by the accused woman with a pipe and a hot knife on their hands and legs for petty reasons," Raposo said.
A case was registered against Habib under sections 363 (punishment for kidnapping) and 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means) of the IPC and section 8 of the Goa Children's Act, he added.
The girls were sent to Apna Ghar, a shelter run by the state government at Merces.