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Abused Vasant Kunj maid wants to come back as teacher

TIMES OF INDIA

NEW DELHI: Dressed in a bright blue salwar-kurta, she waved from the Ranchi-bound Rajdhani on Monday, smiling warmly and assuring that she will be back in the capital-but not as a trafficked domestic worker but as a schoolteacher.

The 18-year-old Santhal girl, tortured by her employer in Vasant Kunj for over three months and rescued almost a month ago with severe injuries all over her body, left with her mother for her village in Jharkhand. She wants justice and her employer Vandana Dhir, a senior executive with an MNC, to be punished by the trial court hearing the case.

Her village, Athganva in Sahibganj district, does not celebrate Diwali but she says she will now introduce the tradition to her friends.

Her wounds are still healing and the scars on her face and arms remind of the torture she was subjected to, a limp in her foot as she rushed to get into the train is yet to go. When she was rescued on September 30 she was in a daze, stunned by the trauma of the brutal assault. But this young survivor was all smiles on Monday. “I will first meet my friends,” she said.

As she got into the air-conditioned coach, she shyly admitted that it was a nice experience. Her last journey was with the trafficker who had brought her from her village to Delhi and this is not something she wants to discuss. She is eager to go to a school and become a teacher who can protect little girls. “I will come back to Delhi after I become a teacher.”

Her 45-year-old mother was quiet all this while. Back home it is poverty that haunts poor labourers like her. She said girls from her village are being taken away to metropolises like Delhi for work as poverty hounds most families.

The battle for survival haunts her, a single parent of five-three daughters and two sons, the 18-year-old being the eldest. She sent her daughter to Delhi from Jharkhand for work out of sheer desperation. However, the girl got trapped in a life of bondage and physical and mental torture. Her statement in the FIR, filed after her rescue, made it clear that she had been assaulted with sticks, knives, brooms, a hot tawa and bare hands by her employer since June. Her long hair was allegedly chopped off by Dhir and she was also kept locked in a room. She was allegedly kept semi-naked so that she could not escape.

She had been treated at Safdarjung Hospital for her injuries since her rescue and even underwent a plastic surgery for a deep wound on her head. Dhir has been arrested and is in custody. The owner of the placement agency who had sent the girl to Dhir has also been arrested.

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