Minor maid burnt and beaten for eating dog’s food

Kailashahar (Tripura), March 20 A 12-year-old maid was allegedly hit again and again with a hot iron rod by a hotel owner’s family for eating salty tidbits meant for their pet dog, in a horrifying instance of how Indians continue to treat underage domestic helps.

Ria Malakar, a rickshaw puller’s daughter battling for life in the Kailashahar district hospital, told media from her hospital bed: “I was starving. They had not given me any food for two days, so I ate the ‘namkin’ kept for the pet.”

The incident took place earlier this week in the North Tripura district town of Kailashahar, 150 km north of state capital Agartala. Police say the accused are on the run.

“Dadu (the hotel owner) and Thamma (his wife) struck me with a hot iron rod on my entire body. They also beat me up ruthlessly with a spiked stick. I ate namkin that was kept for the dog,” she said.

The victim was Saturday questioned by a three-member team of the State Women’s Commission, which has offered to take over her custody for treatment and support, including education.

“It was gruesome,” said commission chairperson Tapati Chakraborty, referring to the girl’s torture.

As witnessed by media, the child’s entire body, including the lower parts, was covered with burn marks and doctors say Ria may never be able to conceive due to the torture.

Ria’s employer, Subhash Ghosh, along with his wife and two daughters allegedly tortured her in their home till she fainted.

North Tripura district police chief Deepak Kumar told media that the Ghosh family is missing and suspected to be hiding in neighbouring Assam. He said help has been sought from their counterparts in Assam to hunt the couple down.

Ria, who called Ghosh ‘dadu’ (grandpa) and his wife as ‘thamma’ (grandma), had started working for them a few months back. At the time of bringing her home, Ghosh assured her poverty-stricken father, Nepal Malakar, that he would put her in a school.

In his police complaint, Ria’s father said the Ghosh family engaged her as a maid and began beating her mercilessly for “every mistake”.

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