A day after the rescue of a 13-year-old girl who worked as a domestic help and was locked up in the house by a doctor-couple vacationing in Bangkok, neighbours in the Dwarka Sector 6 locality said they were unaware she was being tortured for the last seven months. Police said the girl was confined to the house, which was secured with computerised locks, and was under CCTV surveillance.
“I have seen the child exactly twice — Thursday being the second time, while she was being rescued. She looked frail and expressionless. She was confined to the house. I have never even heard her cry, but yesterday, when she deposed before the NGO and the police officers who rescued her, I found out why. She told them her employers would stuff a piece of cloth in her mouth and then beat her, to ensure no one heard her,” said a neighbour.
According to police, the girl, who is from Jharkhand, was brought to Delhi by her uncle. In her statement before the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), she said she was brought here on the pretext of being given a good job. “He promised her mother money. She was brought to Delhi seven months ago and was handed over to a man named Krishna who gave her to one Mahadev. Mahadev then sent her to one Mukesh who has a placement agency… It was two days later that she was handed over to the couple, Sunita and Sanjay Verma at B 2/6 Hahnemann Apartments,” said the CWC statement.
Another neighbour said, “The girl wore a dupatta around her head, the times when I saw her in the balcony. She never made a sound. My son had seen her being pulled by the hair and beaten by the lady of the house. The couple never spoke to anyone.”
Rajkumari, who has been working as a domestic help in the area for 16 years, said, “Yesterday was the first time I saw her. She was crying in the balcony. She said she hadn’t eaten much in four days, she had eaten only roti and salt. She yelled ‘mujhe bachao yahan se’. I was scared she would jump off the balcony.”
“The girl told the police and NGO workers that the couple would check footage from the CCTV cameras, and if they found her eating, they would beat her. Scared, she ate only what they left for her,” said another domestic help.
Nishi Kant, who runs Shakti Vahini, the NGO which aided the rescue, said, “She had bruises all over. She said she wasn’t being paid a salary.”
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Southwest) A K Ojha, said, “On directions of CWC, we have registered a case under Sections, 23/26 JJ Act (exploitation of juvenile), Section 16 under Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act 1976 (enforcement of bonded labour), 14/3 Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act 1986, and Sections 342/370/374/323 (wrongful confinement, buying or selling one person or slave, compulsory labour and voluntarily causing hurt) of the IPC.”