Menaka Thakur, the seven-year-old girl from Dharavi who was allegedly branded and beaten up by her stepmother, had told her paternal uncle that she wanted to go back to their village a month after coming to Mumbai.
Menaka was brought to the city in December from Muzzafarpur in Bihar, where she lived with her grandparents.
“Whenever Aarti [victim’s stepmother] was not around, Menaka would tell me to take her back to our native place. She said did not like the city,” said Saroj Thakur, 22, the victim’s uncle who is currently looking after her at Sion hospital.
“I could not take her back as I needed to arrange for some money. So I told her to wait for some time,” said Thakur, who works as a carpenter in Andheri.
He felt that Menaka would get used to the city life within a few days. “I had no clue about the torture,” said Saroj, adding that when he asked her about her injuries, the girl would say that she fell down playing.
“She has now told me that Aarti had tutored her to give this explanation whenever anyone questioned her about the injuries,” he said.
The incident had come to light last week when the child ran out of the house crying. Her neighbours rushed her to Sion hospital after seeing that her hair had been pulled out. She also had several wound marks on her body.