HYDERABAD: “Please give me some food” - these were the first words of an exhausted Pratyusha when police made their way into her house at LB Nagar around 7.30 a.m. on Wednesday to rescue her. The 19-year-old was washing dishes at the time and the sight of the police was the best thing that happened to her in the last seven months.
The teenager, who was subjected to mind-numbing torture by her stepmother Chamundeswari alias Shyamala and own father Ramesh, mustered enough courage to send an SoS to child rights body, Balala Hakkula Sangham, through a well-wisher on Tuesday night.
A relieved Pratyusha told the police she had had no food the previous night. But what she disclosed a little later, besides her condition, shocked the police officials as well as the Sangham representatives. Pratyusha had injuries all over her body, some apparently made with a sharp metallic object.
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“They (Shyamala and Ramesh) threw acid on my face, made me drink toilet cleaners, rubbed burning cigarettes on my back and hit me with hot iron rods also,” Pratyusha, who didn’t appear to have strength even to cry, told the officials. It didn’t require a formal medical examination to corroborate her story. The girl had burn marks on the right side of her face, back and bruises all over the body. She was immediately sent to a hospital for medical examination and treatment. The LB Nagar police took her stepmother Shyamala (35) into custody but her father Ramesh (45), a junior telecom officer at the BSNL Kothapet Circle, is absconding. The police registered a case under Sections 342 (wrongful confinement), 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt) and 307(attempt to murder) against the couple.
Pratyusha is the only daughter of Ramesh and his first wife Sarala, who split up with him in 2003 and passed away in 2010. Pratyusha had dropped out of school after Class VI due to family problems. She had been staying with Sarala until the latter’s death following which she was sent to an orphanage in the city by her maternal uncle.
Ramesh married Shyamala in 2008. “The couple did not have children. So, in December last, Ramesh approached the orphanage demanding the custody of his daughter,” inspector E Srinivas Reddy said. He took Pratyusha home and that was when the world turned upside down for the teenager.
Shyamala used to make Pratyusha do all the household chores. “The girl has given a statement that the couple had been torturing her for the last seven months. She alleged the duo had thrown acid on her face and that she was beaten up with a hot iron rod almost every day. The girl has now been rescued and sent to a hospital. She has injuries on her face and all over the body,” the inspector said.