For 10-year-old Leena (name changed), her parents turned out to be her worst nightmare. They not only thrashed her but also burnt her from time to time. Unfortunately, the torture didn’t end there. Every time she was beaten or burnt, her stepfather and mother would rub chilli powder on her wounds.
Fortunately for Leena, it was one of her neighbours who noticed her plight and informed Childline, an NGO, about the alleged torture she was subjected to by her parents. The neighbour informed the NGO on Sunday.
Confirming that the organisation had received a call informing them about a 10-year-old girl being tortured by her parents, director of Childline Anuradha Sahasrabuddhe said, “I sent one of the volunteers to the child’s residence to confirm the claims. But when the volunteer told me that the parents were refusing to cooperate, it was almost certain that the girl was being tortured.”
Talking about the NGO team’s visit to Leena’s residence in Ganesh Nagar slums, a volunteer, requesting anonymity, said that Leena’s stepfather was behaving suspiciously, and first told the team that she was not at home.
“This confirmed that something was fishy. We refused to believe him and barged into the shanty,” she said. “When we found Leena, she looked extremely scared and was in a miserable condition. In fact, she said no when we asked her if her parents were torturing her.”
“It took a lot of coaxing for Leena to narrate her ordeal. When we assured her that we were there to help her, she showed us the injury and burn marks on her hands, legs and neck,” she said.
The volunteers managed to secure a letter from Leena in which the child detailed the abuse she had been subjected to for the last several years. The volunteer then attached Leena’s note to a complaint letter and submitted it to officials of Pimpri police station.
The volunteer said she was shocked when the parents agreed to thrashing and burning Leena. “They told me that she was extremely lazy and wouldn’t help her mother in any of the household chores. But later they retracted their statement and said they beat her because she would not do her homework properly,” the volunteer said.
Senior Inspector M A Vidhate of Pimpri police station said that he would be sending officials to Leena’s residence to verify the allegations levelled by the NGO against her parents.
Vidhate confirmed that he had received a written complaint from the NGO. “Based on the compliant we received from Childline, I’ll be sending our men to investigate the charges.
If we find that the girl’s parents have been torturing her, a case will be registered against them, followed by appropriate action. Based on investigations, a call will be taken whether to send the girl for a medical check-up or not,” said Vidhate.
The Childline volunteer also claimed that when they went to submit their complaint letter at the Pimpri police chowki, not a single police official was present inside. She said she had to send a volunteer to the Pimpri police station, which is 10 km away from the chowki, to get an official to register their complaint.