Had the father of seven-year-old Menaka Thakur taken prompt action after receiving repeated complaints about her mother, the girl would have been saved a lot of trauma and physical torture, said Ashok Survegandh, senior police inspector of Dharavi police station.
“The girl was beaten and branded by the woman on several occasions and despite having two daughters of her own, Aarti never felt any sympathy for the child. She would make her do all the housework when Sumit, who is a carpenter was at work. Even after his return, when Menaka tried telling her father the ordeal she was being put through, he would reprimand her for saying wrong things about her mother,” said Najma Khan, social activist from Dharavi.
Survegandh also said that once the girl, who has started interacting with people, is discharged from hospital, she will be taken to the Child Welfare Committee and they would let her decide her fate. “But one thing we will make sure of is that the girl never returns back to her parents, Aarti and Sumit,” added Survegandh.
There are some police officers from Dharavi police station who take out time from their schedule to meet Menaka, who is currently undergoing treatment at Sion Hospital.
“Menaka’s father and stepmother, who was released on bail, have locked their house in Dharavi and left with their two daughters. We found that they are staying in a relative’s house at Nalasopara,” added Survegandh. Meanwhile, Menaka’s paternal uncle is currently taking care of her at Sion Hospital.