Crying for your mother is not allowed at Surlipatti's anganwadi. It has earned a four-year-old girl 11 brandings with a red hot ladle.
The person responsible was her aunt Jaya, who was also the anganwadi assistant. The woman had been employed with the village anganwadi, located 460 km south of Chennai in Cumbum district, for nearly six years.Monday was the tenth day Murugeswari had left her little daughter at the anganwadi. Abandoned by her husband, the woman had started working at a farm, which forced her to be away from her child during the day.
Unused to being away from her mother, the child was crying when Murugeswari left her at the centre. She had thought the child would soon adapt to the new atmosphere.
But that evening, when she came to pick up her daughter, she found the child had multiple welts on her body. Jaya had picked up a red hot iron ladle and hit her indiscriminately.
Arrested on Wednesday, Jaya told the police that she could no longer tolerate the child's constant cries.
She has been suspended, along with cook Bharati, who had done nothing to prevent the incident, said district collector KS Palanisami.