A 23-year-old Malad resident was arrested on Thursday for subjecting the four-year-old daughter of her dead sister to extreme physical abuse. Medical tests revealed that the child had been punched all over and her chest and thighs bore burn marks, presumably from a candle.
The accused, Anita Hadkar, has admitted to assaulting the girl over the past six months because the child would not listen to her, said inspector Dattatre Jadhav of the Malwani police. “Anita said the girl would wander outside the house on several occasions. To stop her from doing so, Anita subjected her to physical abuse,” he added.
On Wednesday, the child was rescued by the Ashapuram Charitable Trust, a Malad-based NGO. Police then registered a case against the child’s aunt.
The girl’s ordeal began three-and-a-half years ago when her mother passed away. The girl’s father remarried soon after, and Anita was given the custody of the child who was then just six months old.
Anita and her husband Nitin brought the girl from Kolkata to Mumbai, where they live at the Old Collector Compound in the Malwani area of Malad (West). The couple’s two-and-a-half year old son and Nitin’s younger brother Anand also live in the same apartment. Over the past six months, the girl was allegedly subjected to physical abuse.
Following her arrest, Anita was produced before a metropolitan court on Thursday where she was granted bail. The battered child has been sent to Dongri Children’s Home.
‘Mummy did it, the girl said’
Mohammad Irfan Kapadia, the NGO worker who rescued the child from her aunt Anita Hadkar said the girl was found in a battered condition.
“She was scared and could barely speak. She just pointed to her injuries and said: ‘Mummy did it’. It is incredible how a woman can beat a child up so
mercilessly,” he said.
Kapadia said some residents of the Malvani society where the girl lived said they had not seen the child outside for a long time. On Wednesday, Kapadia went to the child’s house with a colleague and asked Anita if he could adopt Pooja.“Anita was willing to give her up for adoption. But when I met the girl, she was down with fever. She had bruises all over and burn injuries on her chest and thigh. I immediately took her to Malwani police station,” Kapadia said.