‘I was forced to stay in a box-type enclosure'
“The day begins at 6 a.m. and ends well beyond midnight. I have to clean the rooms, cook food, take care of the child, wash clothes and clean utensils”, said the 10-year-old domestic help, who was freed from the clutches of her masters.
Arpita (name changed), who escaped from the owner's house a couple days back, narrated her traumatic experiences which bought moisture to many eyes.
A native of Agiripally mandal in Krishna district, the girl was admitted as servant in Gudavalli Prabhakara Rao's house at Purushottapatnam village in Gannavaram mandal, by her mother.
The girl's father died due to heart attack and her mother, owing to poverty forced her to join in work to feed the family. Arpita was a second standard dropout.
Speaking to The Hindu on Saturday, the girl narrated how she was subjected to torture by ‘madam' and ‘sir' in Chennai.
“Prabhakara Rao Sir sent me to his daughter Kavitha, who stays with her husband Ramakrishna and son Tanish Chowdary, in Chennai,” she say. The girl also made a representation (a copy of the letter is available with The Hindu) to Child Welfare Committee (CWC). “When madam and sir left for office, I was forced to stay in a box-type enclosure separately constructed for me. They set a camera in front of the box and whenever I left the enclosure for attending nature's call or to attend the baby, I should record my voice in the camera”, said Arpita.
“When I was down with fever, they (the couple who are software professionals) mercilessly tortured me causing burns. A few days ago they brought me to Prabhakara Rao's house for summer vacation where the torture doubled. I was made to take care of the cattle shed too,” the girl alleged. Unable to bear the heavy work load, ill-treatment and physical abuse, I escaped from their clutches and reached the police station, who handed over me to a ‘sir' from the Labour Department, said Arpita. “I want to continue my education,” she said.
National Child Labour Project (NCLP) Project Director D. Anjaneya Reddy said the girl would be produced before the CWC court on June 5. Notices have been served on Prabhakara Rao under Section. 3 of Child Labour Prohibition and Rehabilitation Act. The Chennai couple - Kavitha and Ramakrishna - would also be summoned, said Mr. Reddy.
Keywords: Rescued domestic help