A 19-year-old woman working as a domestic help in Rohini allegedly committed suicide Wednesday night at her employer’s house, following which police have arrested the employer, businessman Kanwal Kishore, for alleged abetment to suicide.
According to police, ever since the Covid pandemic struck, her employers had stopped her from meeting her family.
The woman, Khushbu, had been working at Kishore’s house for five years, and had been a full-time help for the last two, her mother Mira Paswan (40) said.
“Her mother alleged that ever since the lockdown, her daughter was not allowed to go out of the employer’s house. She said that every time she went to meet her daughter, she was not allowed. The mother alleged that her daughter was not being given food properly, that she felt isolated, and wanted to leave the job,” said DCP (Rohini) PK Mishra.
On Wednesday, Kishor and his family of 11 went out for a party and locked the house from the outside.
“When they returned at night, they saw that she had committed suicide. There are no apparent injuries on her body but we are awaiting the post-mortem report,” said Mishra.
Khusbhu is survived by her parents and six siblings who live in a slum in Vijay Vihar.
Her mother told The Indian Express, “Since the pandemic started, they confined my daughter at home. Every time I went to visit her, the family would misbehave with me and ask me to get lost. They would say that if my daughter met me, she would get Covid because we live in a slum… Once I begged them and they let her come till the gate of the house, and I saw her from the other side, and only managed to ask if she had eaten food.”
She said the employers similarly stopped her son, Mithun, from meeting his sister.
She said that she last spoke to her daughter over the phone on Wednesday evening.
“She told me that the family had gone out and that she will eat once they return… At midnight, I got a call from my eldest daughter who works in a house nearby that Khushbu is no more. I rushed to the employer’s house but again, they didn’t even let me see her face,” said Paswan.
She alleged that for the last few weeks, Khushbu had expressed her desire to quit, and also complained that the employer “would only pay her Rs 1,000 a month from her salary, and keep the rest of Rs 5,000 with him”.
“They would tell her that they were saving that money for her wedding,” she said.
Paswan said that before the lockdown, she would visit her daughter at least four times a week.
A day after the incident, Paswan and a few neighbours and relatives went to the employers’ house in Rohini sector 6, where stone-pelting took place.
DCP Mishra said, “The residents of the area called the police and in the stone-pelting, at least four personnel were injured. An FIR has been filed in this matter as well.”
Paswan said, “I went there to ask the employer questions, to get justice. We are angry. How could they confine my child like this?” The FIR, filed at the behest of a complaint received by the general secretary of the block, said, “We came to know… that some relatives (presumably) of the deceased accompanied by some anti-social element tried to take the law in their hands… As residents, we feel apprehensive… The ladies, elderlies and children have become restless because of today’s ruckus.”