The Child Welfare Committee (CWC) will take a decision on the custody of Menaka Thakur — the seven-year-old girl who was beaten up and branded by her stepmother, Aarti, in Dharavi — on Friday. The girl was discharged from the JJ hospital on Tuesday morning.
Saroj Thakur, Menaka’s paternal uncle who has been looking after her since the incident came to light, said: “Menaka has been sent to a children’s home. The authorities have said that she would stay there till the CWC takes a decision on her custody on Friday.”
Menaka’s paternal grandparents, who have been looking after her since birth at their residence in Muzzafarpur, will apply for her custody. However, if the CWC feels that the girl will not be safe with them, they could send her to a childcare centre.
Santosh Shinde, a member of the CWC, said that in most cases, the CWC asks the probation officer (PO) handling the case to check whether the person applying for the custody is in a position to secure the child’s future. As Menaka’s grandfather lives in Bihar and plans to take her there, the PO may visit their Bihar residence.
Menaka’s mother had passed away soon after her birth. Menaka’s father, Sumit, too has been maintaining a distance from her as their relatives are blaming him for neglecting the seven-year-old.
Menaka’s grandfather, Sukhnandan Thakur, who is in the city, had told the police that they had allowed Menaka to come to Mumbai with her father in October, as he had promised that he would get her enrolled in a school.
Though granted bail, Aarti is still in jail as no one has come forward to stand surety for her. Vishwas Shellar, inspector, Dharavi police station, said that they would prepare a charge sheet after getting the girl’s medical reports.