This Article is From Aug 22, 2009

Ten-year-old tortured by employer in Mumbai


In a shocking incident in Mumbai, a 10-year-old girl has accused her employer, Urvashi Dhanorkar, of brutally torturing her for six months.

The girl says she was brought to Mumbai from Amravati to study, but was instead told to be a maid. Her employer was arrested, but later given bail by a local court.

"My hand is burnt. I was burnt with a hot spoon and water," said Rameshwari, the victim.

Scalded with boiling water by her employer, deep bruises under her eyes, Rameshwari can barely bring herself to speak.

Yet, hours after she was arrested for this horrific crime, her employer, Urvashi Dhanorkar, was already out on bail.

Rameshwari was rescued from a middle class neighbourhood in Andheri, after neighbours heard her screams in the night.

"She was very scared when we saw her. The residents of the building had assembled here for her. We checked with the doctor and he has confirmed that she was being beaten," said child rights activists Bindu Bhosale.

The daughter of a poor Amravati farmer, Rameshwari says Dhanorkar had brought her to Mumbai, promising to school her. Instead, she saw six months of torture, forced to work as a maid in her house, beaten mercilessly and barely fed.

Back in Amravati, Rameshwari's parents are in a state of shock.

"They said they would take care of all her expenses, her education, her marriage. They were willing to take care of everything," said Arun Jadhav, Rameshwari's father.

Dhanorkar has been charged with physical abuse and child labour, under the Juvenile Justice Act, but is free to go.

"This is a false case. She burnt herself by mistake in the bathroom and her eyes are read as a honeybee stung her," said Urvashi's lawyer Nitin Satpute.

This is not the first such incident to shock the city. If the authorities do not crack down on the offenders, this will not be the last.