The last two months have been a nightmare for 13-year-old Rukhsana Shaikh.
The teenager claims a couple, which forcibly took her to their Sector 9 Vashi residence to work as a maid, would often beat her up and give her stale food.
By the time she was rescued by a local social worker on October 31, Rukhsana had a fractured left hand and several injuries on her body.
The Vashi police have booked the couple, identified only as Ashish and Farzana, for employing a minor and for assault.
They are untraceable.
“They took me away from my Ghansoli shanty claiming that my mother had agreed to let me work in their house. They kept me well for a couple of days but later the torture started,” claimed Rukhsana.
“I was regularly beaten up, given stale food and even accused of stealing a camera.”
While the teenager was
being tortured, her mother, Fatima, was frantically looking for her.
“They wanted to employ my child as the woman was pregnant, but I had refused,” said Fatima, who works as a maid. Her husband, Abdul Kader Shaikh, is a ragpicker.
“When I managed to locate my daughter, they did not let me meet her and even threatened me. I was scared to complain to the police and so sought help from social worker Fatima Khan.”
Khan said: “When I went to the couple’s house, the woman claimed the girl had stolen a camera. I told her if that was the case she could complain to the police but she could not keep the girl.”
Khan brought the teenager back home. “She has a fractured hand and several other injuries,” she said.
Rukhsana’s mother claimed she has been receiving threats from the couple’s family to not file a complaint.
“I have been threatened by one of the couple’s relatives that my shanty will be burnt down. I was also offered Rs 1,500 to withdraw the case,” her mother said.
The social worker said the Shaikhs have gone into hiding.
Senior Inspector Raosaheb Sardesai said: “We have learnt that the couple is in Mumbra. We are confident of getting arresting them soon.”