Missing, forgotten

On October 23, MiD DAY had reported (‘Monsters thrash, burn and rub chilli powder on 10-yr-old’s wounds’) the sickening torture a little girl had to endure at the hands of her parents. Turns out, even the NGO, which intervened in the case, has failed to check if she is safe.

Pimpri police, on the other hand, is waiting for the NGO to register an FIR against the stepfather and mother of this girl. Failing to obtain assurance of a safe home, the girl had taken refuge at her maternal grandmother’s shanty, a few kilometres from Pimpri.

NGO Childline had approached the police on October 21, and had given an application after receiving a call from the girl’s neighbours, narrating her ordeal. Childline had found that the youngster was under tremendous pressure from her parents to not share details of the inhuman treatment.

The volunteer who had gone to her home had also warned the parents against repeating such harassment in future. After a few days MiD DAY had contacted Anuradha Sahasrabuddhe, director of Childline, to find out if the girl had been shifted to a safe place.

Sahasrabuddhe had then said that the neighbours had informed her that the girl was nowhere to be found. She added that the child might have gone away for vacations.

When MiD DAY contacted her again yesterday, Sahasrabuddhe said, “We don’t know about her. We have so many cases to handle.” When Pimpri police station in-charge Mohan Vidhate was contacted, he said, “Childline has not lodged a formal complaint. If they do then we will act against the girl’s parents,” adding, “We have warned the girl’s parents against harassing her in future.”

The cop too was unable to shed any light on where the girl was. With the help of head constable DN Jagdale with Pimpri police station, this reporter found the girl living 500 metres from her mother’s shanty.

The child said that she would be staying at her maternal grandmother’s dwelling, as she felt safe there, and said that she was not ready to go to her mother’s place. The girl, who was in trauma, first said that her stepfather had inflicted the burns, and was quick to add that it was her mother who used to torture her.

Passing the buck
Child welfare committee member V N Sankpal said that district women and child development office could send staff members to ensure the girl was safe. Sankpal added, “Pimpri police can file suo moto complaint on the basis of application submitted by Childline. Else, if Childline lodges a complaint and the girl is produced before the committee, then we will provide her shelter.” .Reacting to the committee’s suggestions Anuradha Sahasrabuddhe said, “CWC is giving excuses. It has powers to take the custody of the girl. But we will send a volunteer to find out if the girl is safe.” 

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