Not knowing Hindi, the local language of Mumbai, made it difficult for Menaka Thakur, 7, who was allegedly tortured by her stepmother, to share her plight with anybody.
Saroj Thakur, Menaka’s paternal uncle, said that the girl can speak only in Maithili, the dialect spoken at their native place Bagvasa in Muzzafarpur.
On being asked questions by the correspondent, she replied in Maithili, which would then be translated by Saroj. “Menaka understands a bit of Hindi, but she cannot speak in the language. She spoke to her father and stepmother in Maithili,” said Saroj.
Saroj believes that could have added to Menaka’s trauma. “Normally, Aarti did not allow Menaka or her two daughters to step out of the house. Even if Menaka came out, she wouldn’t have been able to communicate with people in Hindi.”
Consequently, Menaka ended up talking only to her immediate family members, Saroj and his elder brother Sanju, who stayed close to Menaka’s residence.
Even while recording her statement, Menaka took Saroj’s help to explain the incident.
Currently Saroj, a carpenter by profession, has taken leave from work and is looking after Menaka.
“We have strictly asked my brother — Menaka’s father Sumit — and his family to stay away from her,” said Saroj.