Mumbai father arrested for torturing daughters

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Mumbai father arrested for torturing daughters
Mumbai:  Frances Gomes, who held his wife and three daughters captive in a locked Mumbai house for seven years, has been arrested and will be produced in court on Thursday.

The Manikpur police registered a case against Gomes and arrested him for wrongful restraint, wrongful confinement and for voluntarily causing hurt to persons.

Until Tuesday, no one knew of Gomes or of his house of horrors. A local NGO, tipped off by neighbours, rescued the three women and their heartrending story came to the fore.

Frances Gomes was convinced that if his daughters left his flat in Vasai, they would be raped. Or "corrupted".  So he kept 27-year-old Barbara and 21-year-old Elizabeth locked up with their mother Theresa in this Mumbai suburb. A third daughter escaped just two months ago.

The three women rescued on Tuesday sit with their heads bowed, but say little. Barbara cannot control her neck movements, the result of a severe beating, one of many, by her father. A visit inside their flat shows a fridge with a chain around it. Gomes decided when his family would eat. The windows have huge deadbolts. When he left the house, he'd slam them shut.

That guaranteed that his neighbours had no interaction with his family. All that was known about Gomes was this: That he was unemployed, and that he lived off the money he'd made from selling a flat.

Then, on Tuesday, whispering through a peephole, Theresa managed to catch the attention of a neighbour. The local NGO arrived soon after at Vasai's house of horrors.

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Francis Gomes was beaten up by angry locals. Initially his family did not ask for any action against him. "They came to us saying that they wanted the NGO to rehabilitate them. But they did not register a complaint against the accused," said Ashok Pawar, a senior officer at the Manikpur Police Station. The case was registered after midnight.

Gomes insists he has done nothing wrong. A slight man with silver hair, he dares, "Bring me face-to-face with my wife and ask her then to explain if I mistreated her." He has this to fall back upon: Two months ago, his third daughter managed to escape with the help of another NGO. Her trauma is so deep that she has never asked those who rescued her to go back for her mother and sisters.

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