A Patel Nagar based businessman is accused of keeping his 20-year-old domestic help in captivity and repeatedly raping her. Police said the girl, originally from West Bengal, was tortured for three months, during which she wasn’t allowed to go out of her employer’s home.
Her counselors said she was rescued under “dire circumstances”. An FIR was registered on Wednesday night after an official translator was brought from Banga Bhavan – the office of the resident commissioner of West Bengal in Delhi. Her statement was taken.
The man, said to be in his 50s and owner of a few showrooms in west Delhi, is absconding with his family. The girl, meanwhile, is in the process of being sent back to her family in Dakshin Dinajpur district.
As per estimates, four million people, mainly women, are employed as domestic workers in India. And over 50 cases of violence against domestic helps were reported by the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) in 2016 alone.
Only one placement agency, out of 1,400 in Delhi, was found to have a valid license in 2016. With domestic work not being recognised under ‘Labour Laws’ in India, household helps – both adults and minors – are routinely brought from rural areas of Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha and Assam and kept in sub-human conditions.
Earlier in September 2015, a Saudi diplomat was accused of raping his two Nepali helps and beating them repeatedly at his condominium in Gurgaon. But he escaped punishment due to diplomatic immunity. A month later, a 14-year-old maid from Jharkhand was found locked-up in a cupboard in Gurgaon with deep bruises all over her body.
A DCW officer said about Wednesday’s incident, “We got a tip off about the girl recently and decided to raid the house. The girl, who was in a very bad condition, told us that she came to Delhi with a relative two years back. She was working in this house for three months.”
“She said this man would rape her whenever the other house members would go out. He also threatened her against talking to anybody about this,” he said. “She was made to toil without adequate food or any pay all day long, and was not even allowed to go out for once in all these months,” he added.
DCW chairperson Swati Maliwal said, “There was a lot of delay in taking down her statement and registration of the FIR as she could speak only Bengali.” “Also, the man is rich and wields influence in the area. We have requested all state resident commissioners in Delhi to have at least one translator on their rolls for such situations,” she added.
A Patel Nagar Police Station officer said, “An FIR has been lodged for rape, illegal confinement and other relevant sections. The girl’s medical examination has confirmed rape too.”