Faridabad maid a minor, trafficked to Delhi

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AMBIKA PANDIT IN THE TIMES OF INDIA

NEW DELHI: The tribal girl who was found hanging from a grille at her employer’s house in Faridabad five days ago was a schoolgoing teenager at a village in Uttar Dinajpur, West Bengal till about seven months ago. Her mother has alleged that she was not more than 13 years old and was lured to Delhi by a placement agency owner. The girl’s parents did not know that she was employed here. An FIR under legal provisions for trafficking, Juvenile Justice Act and Child Labour Act has been registered on the basis of the mother’s complaint.

Shocked to learn of her daughter’s death, the woman has sought a thorough probe into the role of the family that hired her daughter in March for housework, and strict action against the unregistered placement agency involved. The case was registered by the Dabua police chowki of Saran police station in Faridabad late on Friday evening, five days after the death occured.

The girl’s decomposing body for now lies in the “dead house”. A second postmortem may be carried out to rule out foul play before she is laid to rest at the burial ground of a Christian cemetery here. “I want to know why my daughter died? I don’t believe she committed suicide. She was very strong,” the mother told TOI after identifying the body. Despite her loss, the mother, a Christian, stood strongly rooted in her faith as she fasted through the day to mark Good Friday. Now she only wants justice for her daughter.

She has been employed at a house in Janakpuri since October and says her husband daughter and sons were all staying at home when she left her village in September. “My daughter said bye and left to get wood for cooking. She was a very hard-working child and studied in class 1. She took care of the house and also did housework to help me. She was not the kind to kill herself.” The woman said she came to Delhi to earn for her family as extreme poverty hounded homes in her village where most people, including her husbands, have only day jobs.

She got to know of her daughter’s presence in Delhi and her death only on April 17 when the placement agency owner who brought the girl to Delhi tried to reach her through another agency that had provided her employment in Janakpuri. The woman has alleged that Rafiq, the owner of Laxmi Placement Agency in Tughlaqabad, never tried to contact her before to inform her about her daughter’s presence in Delhi. “I worked for the agency that employed my daughter in my previous stay in Delhi as a domestic worker. Despite knowing me, the agency owner never told me that my daughter was here. Even my husband did not know her whereabouts as the placement agency brought her to Delhi by taking permission from a relative,” she told TOI.

Police say the girl was found hanging from a grille on April 14. Her employers reported that she had been hired on March 24 from Laxmi Placement Agency at a meagre salary of Rs 3,500 to do housework in an upper-middle class household in Sector 49. The agency took about Rs 22,000 from the family as commission for placing her

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