Seven-year-old Kalyani Shitala (name changed) is about to begin a new life. Slavery-like conditions and the physical violence rained on her by her “owner” had imprisoned her for months at the Alluri Seetha Ramaraju Academy of Medical Sciences, which she could not leave until her bills were cleared.
Now the hospital has released the girl following the intervention of West Godavari collector Vani Mohan when a family from Mumbai agreed to pay the remaining amount, about Rs. 2.35 lakh, for her treatment, after having shelled out Rs. 1.50 lakh earlier.
“We discharged her after the collector spoke to our management. We have been told that the Mumbai party will clear the rest of the amount soon,” said a hospital employee.
About one and a half years ago, her HIV-positive mother (the girl is not HIV-positive) had sold Kalyani, a native of West Godavari district, for Rs. 10,000. For reportedly refusing to work at her “owner’s place”, she was tortured so much that she landed in hospital on July 5, 2012, with burns all over her body, a big gash on the head, both legs badly fractured, hips dislocated and septicemia, a life-threatening infection in the lungs, abdomen or urinary tract.
After the media had highlighted her plight, the collector asked the hospital to provide the girl treatment.
Vani Mohan told HT the girl had now been lodged at the Women and Child Welfare Department Home for Children at Denduluru, 8 km from district headquarters Eluru.
“It’s just a waiting place till we tie up arrangements for her schooling. I have spoken to Srinivasan (of the Mumbai family). We will discuss with him in the presence of the girl’s mother.”