Sex worker beaten up, strips to highlight police inaction

Commercial sex worker Prema Shaikh was allegedly beaten up by five men suffered contusions on her arms, abdomen and back.

Pune | Published: March 4, 2014 3:00:17 am
Sex worker Prema Shaikh suffered bruises when four assailants beat her up. (Indian Express) Sex worker Prema Shaikh suffered bruises when four assailants beat her up. (Indian Express)

A commercial sex worker from Budhwar Peth, who was allegedly beaten up by five men, had to run from pillar to post to lodge a police complaint. Prema Shaikh (33), who hails from Bangladesh, suffered contusions on her arms, abdomen and back, and her ear drum was also damaged in the attack. 

The suspects include four men, who work at a hotel in the area, and an autorickshaw driver. Frustrated at the police indifference, Prema took off her clothes in front of the hotel on Sunday to show the extent of injuries. Following this, she was sent to Mother Teresa home at Chinchwad as cops said she was allegedly suffering from mental illness.

On Monday, however, after women from the area intervened, Shukrawar Peth police took her to Sassoon General Hospital for medical examination. “Once we get the medical report, an FIR will be lodged,” said Vijay Koli, PSI, Shukrawar Peth police. Initial findings of the medical report showed that Prema suffered extensive bruises on her stomach, eye, back and hands. According to the report, she had a broken ear drum and contusions on abdomen, lower torso, hands and back.

She alleged that the men attacked her after she asked one of them to return her money. “The incident occurred late on February 27 after I asked them to return my money. They beat me with a pressure cooker, steel rod and threw stones at me. I went to Faraskhana police chowki, but the cops did not register my complaint. The next day, I went to Mumbai for treatment,” she said.
She returned on March 1 and claimed to have approached the cops again.

“On March 2, I had so much pain in my stomach and the bruises were so dark and ugly that I could no longer bear that nobody was taking action. I took out my clothes and stood naked in front of the hotel,” she said.

Other commercial sex workers, who are members of a Community Learning Centre (CLC) that was set up by Pathfinder NGO, immediately called the police. The CLC members and consultants, who accompanied Prema to Sassoon hospital, said the police took her to Mother Teresa’s Home.

On Monday, the Sisters at the home told the cops to take her as she was not mentally unfit and that it was a home for the destitute. “We brought her back and took her to Sassoon hospital,” Koli said. Till late on Monday, Prema was undergoing medical tests, including CT scan and sonography.

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