Child Domestic Worker Tortured and Killed
60 hours of fighting for life, 11-year-old Putul's life came
to an end on Wednesday, July 28, at Dhaka Medical College
Hospital. On Monday, July 26, early in the morning, Putul
who worked as a maid in a house in Sonadanga, Khulna, was
mercilessly beaten by her employer Borhanuddin's wife Reshma.
Multiple injuries from her waist downward indicate that an
iron rod or something very heavy was used to beat the child.
Putul was also hit on the head, leading to hemorrhaging and
loss of consciousness.
maid was told by the Borhanuddin household that Putul had
slipped in the bathroom and fainted. On Monday at around 10
am, Putul was taken to a clinic but the staff refused to admit
her so she was taken to Khulna Medical College Hospital and
admitted there in the afternoon. Members of Bangladesh National
Women Lawyers Association (BNWLA), when they heard of Putul's
case, took her to Dhaka Medical College and got her admitted
to the neuro-surgery department. But Putul never gained consciousness
and died while in a coma.
warrants for the arrest of Borhanuddin and his wife Reshma
(Putul's assailant) have been issued, the police have been
unable to arrest them as they have gone into hiding. Putul's
father Abdul Jabbar, has filed a case against the couple under
the Penal Code.
case is all too familiar these days. Only this May another
child domestic worker, Mostakina, was rescued and taken to
hospital with multiple wounds caused by continuous torture.
Again it was her employer's wife, the mistress of the house,
who frequently tortured her for the most trivial reasons.
A neighbour saw Mostakina's wounds and informed the police.
Mostakina's employers, both doctors, were arrested but later
released on bail. The case is ongoing.
two months ago, Abdul Jabbar, a poor day labourer, had taken
his daughter Putul to Borhanuddin's house, thinking that his
child would be well taken care of in such an affluent household.
He had been told that Putul would also be given the opportunity
to learn to read and write. Putul's father did not even supposed
to assess the case and recommend such a transfer, has been
suspended for his alleged connections with drug dealers. Advocate
Sabiha says that she will request for a new IO to be appointed.
investigation is at a virtual standstill. Borhanuddin, who
has a thriving clothes business and owns a supermarket, is
still missing along with his wife. Advocate Sabiha has tried
to meet with their family members, many of who lived near
Borhanuddin's house. No one can be found now. Sabiha says
that the couple may have fled to India or Pakistan as they
have businesses there. But in order to catch them they need
photographs to identify the culprits. "The IO can break
open the locks (of their house) and get some pictures,"
says Sabiha, hinting that the police have not been working
hard enough to investigate the case properly. "The proper
authorities can instruct the banks where they have accounts
to release their pictures," adds Sabiha, who is determined
to see Putul's assailants punished.
At a press
conference in Khulna, after Putul's death, her father demanded
that his child's murderers be hanged. Unfortunately, he is
just a day labourer and the culprits have enough money and
influence to slow down the investigation and even suppress
the media. Even after press releases were sent to the local
papers by BNWLA when Putul was in hospital, two days went
by without any news about the case in most of the local print
media. Apparently even the local press had been requested
by 'influential quarters' not to publish the news, says Sabiha.
Thus the odds against Abdul Jabbar are intimidating and reflect
the plight of thousands of poor, helpless family members of
victims of violence. In the general scheme of things, it is
always the powerful and rich who get away, literally with
(R) thedailystar.net 2004