'Child has never had chocolate, biscuits' | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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'Child has never had chocolate, biscuits'

Menaka, who was allegedly beaten up and branded with hot spoons by her stepmother, has never had chocolates, biscuits or wafers, said social worker Najma Khan.

mumbai Updated: Feb 04, 2012 00:46 IST
Puja Changoiwala

Is that dalmoth (fried snack)?" asked seven-year-old Menaka Thakur when she saw the chocolates in this HT reporter's hand on Friday.

Menaka, who was allegedly beaten up and branded with hot spoons by her stepmother, has never had chocolates, biscuits or wafers, said social worker Najma Khan.

Khan explained to the child that it was a 'chocolate' and tasted sweet. After several attempts at trying to pronounce it correctly, Menaka hesitantly took a bite, and then quickly gobbled up the two bars.

"The child says she has always been fed dal chawal, even on occasions when her family was feasting on delicacies. She has never tasted any sweets and doesn't even recognise them," said Khan.

"She has been responding well to food. She speaks more often and has been asking for samosas and dal chawal. We can see her health improving," she added.

Khan has stationed a 22-year-old carpenter, Saroj Kumar, to stay with Menaka all the time.

"She has no one to take care of her. So I have taken responsibility for the child and have made sure that Saroj stays by her side at all times and gets her everything she asks for," she said.

The police have also stationed a head constable outside the children's ward of the hospital.

"The constable is there to take care of the child, be it for getting food items or escorting her for medical tests," said Dhananjay Kulkarni, deputy commissioner of police, zone 5.

Kulkarni said their priority was to rehabilitate the girl after she recovered completely.

"We will take her to the Child Welfare Committee, which will take a decision in accordance with the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act. Other options include government children's homes which have schooling facilities," he said.

Hospital officials also said the child was stable.

"She has no internal injuries. She will have to continue to be on antibiotics for a while. Her plaster will be removed after her wounds heal," said a senior medical officer.