A girl aged about 12 was rescued from a house in Pandeshwar by government officials on Thursday after they were tipped off about her presence as domestic help.

Officials of the Labour Department and Child Development Project under the Department of Women and Child Development inspected the house of Mansoor Hussain in Pandeshwar, near the BSNL Telecom Office on Thursday morning and rescued Mehzan of Tarikere taluk. After being produced before the Child Welfare Committee, she was sent to an institution run by Prajna Counselling Centre.

Two women, who were present in the house, initially, denied the presence of any little children. On inspecting the house, the police, and the government officials could not find any child. One room in the house was locked and the inmates refused to open it and claimed that they did not have the key. After over an hour, the door was opened where the girl was found and an inquiry followed.

Child Development Project Officer for Mangalore City M. Gangadhar said that according to preliminary inquiries, Mehzan was brought to the house to look after her elder brother who was sick. A relative of Mr. Hussain said that Mehzan's brother had been injured and that she had been brought to look after him.

Senior Labour Inspector U.S. Deshpande said that according to the statements of Mehzan and her cousin Mr. Nayaz, the latter brought the girl to look after him since he had injured his foot. Mr. Deshpande said that Mr. Nayaz went to Mr. Hussain's house every year to seek alms during Ramzan and that this year, he met with an accident involving a two-wheeler belonging to Mr. Hussain.

Mr. Deshpande said that Mr. Nayaz produced records of his admission to Father Muller Hospital and said that he had undergone two surgeries. The bills were paid by Mr. Hussain's family. Mr. Deshpande said that the girl said that she was not made to work.

Speaking to the media, Mehzan, who was in tears, said that she was studying in class 6.

Chairperson of the CWC Asha Nayak toldThe Hinduthat Mehzan's parents would have to produce records of their relationship with her before they could be given custody.

Keywords: child labour

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