The girl who had risked her life to escape from her employers at a Noida residential complex was overworked, often assaulted and given only one meal a day by her employers, according to the NGO which is currently looking after her.
The girl, in her early teens, had on Monday escaped her allegedly abusive employers by stringing a sari from the balcony of the 13th floor apartment to climb down to the floor below.
While she is yet to record an official police statement, members of the NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan said that a medical test has been conducted as per procedure.
A case has also been registered under sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 346 (wrongful confinement in secret), 23 (exposing child to cruelty) and 24 (exploitation of child employee) of the Juvenile Justice Act, said senior police officials.
“She told us that she had come to Noida because her family thought she would be able to study here. She has studied till class V, after which she had to drop out because of family troubles. Her father works at a juice stall and she has five sisters and two brothers,” said an official from the Bachpan Bachao Andolan.
He added, “She is from a village in Lakhimpur Kheri. The residents of the apartment, where she worked, are also from around the same area”.
He added that the girl had disclosed that she was made to work throughout the day and often beaten up.
“She said she was made to work from 5 am to 10 pm, and given food only once in the day, at 4 pm. Her employers would often beat her. While she has no grave injury marks, there is a cut on her lip. She had tried to escape some time ago and sought help from the family’s driver. But he informed her employers instead,” said the official.
Once a police statement is recorded under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, further investigations will take place, said the official.
“We have been told that while she is talking, she is not in a state to issue a statement…that will happen in the next two days. We have spoken to residents of the apartment block and we are following due procedure in the case,” said a police officer.
With the help of a sari, the girl had escaped the 13th floor of Noida’s Exotica Frescoe apartment, climbed down to the apartment below and knocked on their balcony door.
“She was begging to be let in, because she wanted to escape from her employers. She was so desperate that she had climbed down from the 13th floor balcony, using a sari. She threatened to jump off the balcony if they didn’t let her escape. She said all she wanted to do was run away,” said Rakesh Sinha, an employee of BBC News who lives in the 12th floor apartment.