Vasant Kunj domestic help abuse case: The girl's mother was responding to claims of the accused’s lawyer that she (the girl) was mentally ill and may have hurt herself.

Waiting at the railway station to board a train for Delhi, Sumi Kisko (name changed), the mother of the tribal girl who was brutalised by her employer in Vasant Kunj, said her daughter wasn’t mentally ill as was being alleged.

“My daughter was healthy when she left home to work in Delhi. She studied two years in the village school. If she was not very smart, could she have done that and worked for so long?” Kisko asked.

She was responding to claims of the accused’s lawyer that the girl was mentally ill and she may have hurt herself. Kisko, who speaks only Santhali and is a farm labourer in her village, said her daughter, her eldest child, didn’t deserve to be so “barbarically treated.”

She boarded the train at Barharwa station in Sahebganj, a small town on Jharkhand’s border with West Bengal. She is accompanied by neighbour Vasudev Gorai and a labour inspector for the trip to Delhi. Kisko’s daughter was rescued from her employer Vandana Dheer by the police and an NGO on Monday night. She had severe injuries on her eyes, ears and head and her skin had peeled off from the face and neck, according the NGO.

Kisko said her daughter had left home in Atgama village four years back on the promise of employment.

“A man called Lukhi Ram and his wife from Taljahri village whom I had never met before came to our village four years back looking for girls who wanted to work in cities,” she said. As her husband had died of illness a few years back, her eldest daughter agreed to go with Lukhi Ram to Delhi.

“A few days later they left by train. I did not hear back from her after that until now,” the girl’s mother said. “Lukhi Ram gave us Rs.15,000 in the four years that my daughter worked outside. Whenever I asked him if she could speak to her daughter, he would say he had forgotten the contact details,” Kisko said.

She said her younger daughter, too, had left for work in Mumbai soon after her elder daughter had left for Delhi. “She returned four months back and then left again.”

Kisko said she used to get worried about her elder daughter but did not know whom to ask and whom to approach. Rishikant of NGO Shakti Vahini said the girl was “still in trauma. She said her skin is missing in places where she had been slashed by a knife. She said she was hit with a hot pan several times.”

He said the girl had told them that she worked at Noida and Lajpat Nagar before she was placed in Vasant Kunj with Vandana Dheer.

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