TIRUNELVELI: Angry over a five-year-old girl not waking up after her repeated attempts, an anganwadi worker allegedly branded the child’s leg with a hot knife at Meenatchipuram village near Kadayam here on Friday last.
The incident came to light when the parents of the victim approached officials seeking action against the worker after the Kadayam police refused to register an FIR on their complaint.
Sources said that Velmurugan, a resident of Meenatchipuram, had admitted his five-year-old daughter V Vennila to the anganwadi centre functioning in the village.
On Friday last, Seethalakshmi, a worker at the anganwadi, put all the children under her care to sleep after giving them lunch.
However, after some time, Seethalakshmi tried waking up the children. But, Vennila did not respond to her calls. Angered by this, Seethalakshmi branded the child with a hot knife, sources said.
Though the incident happened on Friday, the parents came to know of it only on Saturday when the child finally opened up to them.
According to Velmurugan, “My daughter was too scared that she was not even able to talk on Friday. Only after she came out of the shock, did she tell us what had happened at the anganwadi. We tried contacting higher officials, who promised to conduct an inquiry. However, when no step was taken against the worker, we approached the police.”
However, the Kadayam police were less than helpful, said Velmurugan, adding that they did not even register a case. When Express tried to contact the Kadayam inspector, Murugan, he was not available for comments. Apart from the assurances of looking into the matter, no action has so far been taken by top officials.
The superintendent of the (ICDS) in the village said, “We have sent an official to inquire into the incident. Action would be taken based on the report of the official.”
Meanwhile, Child Welfare Committee chairman, B Nala Chandrasekaran, said, “We will summon the anganwadi worker in question and take appropriate action after a proper inquiry.”
Late in the night, following an order from the Superintendent of Police, the woman was arrested.