HYDERABAD: The recent spine-chilling case of 19-year-old Pratyusha, who was tortured by her step-mother and father, has brought into focus challenges faced by orphaned children. Officials, who work for welfare of children, said step-parents who want to be rid of the responsibility of bringing up a child not of their own, drive him/her away or send them to government homes.
Pratyusha was tortured by her father and step-mother for over seven months to grab her property. She was rescued last Wednesday. Money plays a crucial role in these matters. Bringing up a child means paying for education and taking care of miscellaneous costs.
According to the officials, resistance is stronger in the case of a girl child, as step-father or step-mother fear financial burden. If the biological mother or father is financially dependent on spouses, the reliance does not allow them to have a say when the children are ousted from home.
A few days ago, a 16-year-old boy from the city, who was sent to an NGO from the Government Children’s Home for Boys at Saidabad, returned to his parents’ home. But he was not allowed by his step-father. After a failed struggle to be allowed into home, the teenager called up officials at 2 a.m.
“The boy’s mother, who is a housewife, got married again and has three daughters from second husband. The step-father vehemently opposed the boy’s return. As the mother was dependent on her husband and has three daughters to take care of, she could not convince him,” said A Naveen Kumar, deputy superintendent, Government Children’s Home for Boys.
Officials of the Women and Child Welfare department said children who cannot bear harassment meted out by step-parents, run away from homes. “There are cases where biological parents harass children. And a step-father took good care of his daughter. It all depends on the attitude of parents,” said V Padmavathi, chairperson of Ranga Reddy district Child Welfare Committee (CWC). She added that any given day the cases dealing with girls outnumber when compared to boys.
In case anyone wants to pass information about Pratyusha type cases to officials, they can call up:
Child Helpline: 1098
Balala Hakkula Sangham: