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SHAKTI VAHINI IMPACT – Tormented Dwarka maid returns with story, smiling


New Delhi: Abused and tortured by a doctor couple, who employed her in an upscale Dwarka society, a 13-year-old girl’s traumatic story of confinement and human rights violation had last April made the authorities sit up and take note of the growing violence against minor domestic helps. A year later, the child has emerged as an icon of courage for other girls in her home state of Jharkhand. Very good in her studies and a class monitor, she stood third in her Class VI final exams. She is now a smiling teenager, dreaming of becoming a teacher.

She will be the key speaker at a function being organized by National Commission for Protection of Child Rights on the occasion of World Day Against Child Labour at Vigyan Bhawan on Wednesday. The terrified girl, who was rescued from the Dwarka house on March 29, 2012, when her employers were vacationing in Thailand, is now a confident survivor. As she walked out of Indira Gandhi International Airport on Tuesday evening, TOI spoke to her over the phone.

Looking forward to telling the audience at Vigyan Bhawan her story, that is listed as a testimony in the NCPCR invitation, the 14-year-old said, “I must tell everyone why I came to Delhi to work. It is important for them to know the circumstances that brought me here.” Her father is mentally unstable and her mother’s irregular wages were not enough to feed a family of six. “I have a brother and two sisters. All of them are younger to me,” she said. In short, it was poverty which drove her family to send her to Delhi for work.

Memories of her stay at Delhi make her grim. “Bahut bure log the woh,” (they were very bad people) she says softly, in almost a whimper. Not wanting to discuss her pain, she says that once she was sent back by the government to Jharkhand, her life had a new meaning.

With NCPCR’s intervention, she was admitted to Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya, a residential school. Enrolled in Class VI, she is now monitor of her class. Good at studies, she loves science the most and is working on her English. She says proudly how she stood third in her class and is looking forward to doing better this year.

On child labour, she is clear. “Hum school mein sab ladkiyon se kehtey hain Dilli mat jana kaam karne. (I tell all my schoolmates not to go to Delhi for work).

The girl’s tormentors had been arrested on April 4, five days after they returned to Delhi. They were later released on bail. The child had been forced to do all household chores but made to virtually starve and given no salary. The CWC had found out that she had been forced out of school by her uncle who had passed her on to a trafficker. Eventually, a placement agency sent her to the Dwarka family.

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