The police have arrested a 25-year-old woman from Dharavi for the physical torture of her three-year-old daughter. Now in hospital, the severely abused girl said her mother would inflict cuts on her body with a hot knife and often thrash her.
Police Sub-Inspector Vijaykumar Ambarge of the Dharavi police station said Tarika (name changed), the abused child, came to the city from Karnataka with her father Shankar Shivram and mother Jayshree on September 7.
Ambarge said the family lived in temporary accommodation at Kamgar Galli in Ambedkar Nagar, Dharavi, and the parents of the girl did odd jobs for a living. He said neighbours would look after the girl when the parents were away.
Wounds all over
On the afternoon of September 15, Tarika was spotted on the road outside her home by children from the locality and as she looked badly injured, they informed a local NGO, Pragati Seva Mandal.
“I along with a few others reached the spot and was stunned to see the girl was in a terrible condition,” Pragati Seva Mandal head Roshan Sheikh said. “Blood was coming out of her swollen eyes. The girl had major wound marks all over her body. We rushed her to hospital and informed the Dharavi police.”
A case was registered against the mother and she was arrested, but her husband went absconding from their Dharavi residence.
Tarika is now recuperating at Sion hospital. Doctors said though she was stable, her condition could still not be called good. Pragati Seva Mandal is now taking care of her.
First admitted to the ICU of Sion hospital, Tarika was shifted to the general ward on Monday.
“The girl has multiple injuries and bruises all over her body,” Sion hospital assistant dean Dr Rakesh Verma said. “Her head, hands and legs have several bruises. She was brought here in a very bad condition. Her eyes are red and swollen. She is now stable and recuperating.”
Police officials said the girl was often assaulted by Jayshree and there was no reason they could find for the mother’s behaviour. They said once Jayshree even threw the girl down the staircase.
Speaking in broken Hindi from her hospital bed, the three-year-old said her mother inflicted cuts on her stomach with a hot knife.
“I was hit by mother; she always hit (me),” Tarika said. “She took a small knife and heated it, and then she cut my stomach with it. She did (this) in many places on my body.”
The girl showed several injury marks on her body. Social worker Sheikh said the NGO would look after the girl from now on as Jayshree’s behaviour pointed to her being the stepmother rather than the mother of the child.
“We will look after the girl,” Sheikh said. This is cruelty by her mother. No one can even think of doing such a thing to such a small kid. I don’t think that she (Jayshree) is the real mother; she may be her stepmother. I will not let the child be handed over to the mother later and we will look after her. I don’t understand why the father has escaped and is on the run.”
Police Inspector Keshav Kharat of the Dharavi police station said Jayshree was arrested and charged under Section 342 (punishment for wrongful confinement) and 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) of the IPC.
“She is also charged under Children Act of 2000 under Section 23 and she will be produced in court on Tuesday,” Kharat said. “We are further interrogating the mother and trying to make her reveal the reason for such behaviour. She said she is her the real mother of the child, but we are investigating the claim.”