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BBA rescues teenage domestic help, viciously tortured by her Ghaziabad employer

By Jitendra Parmar* 

A teenage girl Pushpa (name changed) from West Bengal, who worked as a domestic help, was rescued from under the stairs of a society in Ghaziabad’s Vasundhra area where she was hiding after being beaten up mercilessly by her employer.
The minor girl’s ordeal ended when someone informed Association for Voluntary Action (AVA), also known as Bachpan Bachao Andolan, as a result of which the activists rushed to the spot to rescue the frightened and badly wounded teenager. An FIR has been lodged in the Indirapuram Police Station against the employer Reena Sharma. 
Meanwhile, Pushpa has been admitted to the hospital.
Pushpa, hailing from Siliguri, West Bengal, had been working at the employer’s house for the last one year. She was employed to do domestic chores and was often beaten up when something went wrong or a task wasn’t completed on time.
Pushpa, when rescued, had swollen limbs, wounds on her entire body, burn injuries on her left hand, deep wound scars on her neck and back and badly injured left ear. Blood was dripping from her leg at the time of her rescue.
On the night of 24 March, her employer beat her up and sat on her chest even as she cried for help. As soon as Pushpa saw the door ajar, she rushed out and hid under the stairs of the building.
She stayed hidden there the entire night, and it was only in the wee hours of the next morning that someone spotted the minor girl and informed Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA). As soon as the BBA members reached the spot and contacted the office bearers of the society, everyone came forward to assist in rescuing the girl.
Post her rescue, she was produced for medical where the doctors immediately rushed her to the hospital looking at her condition.
“My employer would often beat me up with rods and she made me work from 6 in the morning to 2 at night. Once she had poured boiling water on my leg when I couldn’t finish a task. A day before Holi, she beat me up mercilessly. I had had enough and I couldn’t take it anymore. So, I ran outside and hid under the stairs to save myself,” the teenager said showing her burnt left leg.
My employer would often beat me up with rods and she made me work from 6 in the morning to 2 at night
Pushpa’s mother works in a tea garden in Siliguri while her father stays at home due to a leg injury. Pushpa was allowed to talk to her parents once a fortnight, but if she ever as much as hinted about her working conditions to them, she was beaten up badly and punished, Pushpa confessed.
Pushpa was brought to work as a domestic help from West Bengal by a placement agency, and her parents were sent Rs 4,000 as her salary while Pushpa got nothing, she said.
Talking about the situation of domestic help in our country, Manish Sharma, Director, Bachpan Bachao Andolan said, “Minor girls are trafficked from far-flung and vulnerable families and brought to cater to the growing greed of families in urban India. As if stripping off their childhood and safety of home isn’t enough, they are tortured, abused and made to live in such horrifying conditions."
"We need stricter laws and monitoring of placement agencies if we want to save our children from such abuses. Also, if all the Residents’ Welfare Associations across the country become as proactive as the RWA in this case, we can ensure that child labour and child trafficking can be checked. Unless it becomes everyone’s responsibility, it will remain no one’s duty", she added.
*With Bachpan Bachao Andolan



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