Bhubaneswar: Woman held for torturing 11-year-old maid

Maitri Vihar IIC Mrutunjay Swain said the girl was beaten up frequently on the grounds of committing mistakes and stealing chocolates.
Volunteers of city-based Ruchika organisation rescued the minor in a critical condition.
Volunteers of city-based Ruchika organisation rescued the minor in a critical condition.

BHUBANESWAR: City police on Thursday arrested a woman for employing a minor as domestic help and brutally assaulting the child repeatedly in the past 10 months.

The matter came to light when the domestic help, an 11-year-old girl, was rescued from her employer’s house at Gajapati Nagar in a serious condition and was admitted to AIIMS-Bhubaneswar on Thursday. Her parents are yet to be traced.

The girl from Salia Sahi slum was employed in the house of Balabhadra Barik and his wife Lipika Ranjita Sahoo at Gajapati Nagar, 10 months back with a monthly salary of Rs 2,500. Sahoo earlier worked with an IT-firm and had resigned after childbirth two years back.

On Wednesday, one of Sahoo’s neighbours informed the district child protection officer (DCPO) about the girl being mercilessly beaten up after hearing her screams. Subsequently, volunteers of city-based Ruchika organisation rescued the minor in a critical condition. Her body bore severe burn injury marks while her face and one of her eyes were swollen. She was produced before the child welfare committee (CWC) and admitted to Capital Hospital.

Inquiry revealed that the girl’s father, an alcoholic, had abandoned his three daughters and wife. After a few months, her mother too deserted the girls and remarried. With no one to look after the three sisters, their uncle Bipin and aunt Anusha took custody of them. As her aunt was working at the couple’s house as a domestic help, she engaged the girl there to look after their two-year-old daughter.

Maitri Vihar IIC Mrutunjay Swain said the girl was beaten up frequently on the grounds of committing mistakes and stealing chocolates. The girl alleged that Sahoo had assaulted her many times in the past with a rolling pin and also used hot pressure cooker and tongs to inflict burn injuries on her.

CEO of Ruchika and former Khurda CWC member Benudhar Senapati said medical reports have revealed that the girl’s left eye was damaged and facial bones fractured. She has been shifted to AIIMS-Bhubaneswar.

While police are trying to trace the girl’s parents, members of Odisha State Commission for Protection of Child Rights and CWC have launched an investigation into the case. A case was registered against Sahoo under various sections of the IPC, Juvenile Justice Act and Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act.

The accused has been produced in court and remanded in judicial custody while the husband Barik is also under scanner.

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