A 16-year-old tribal girl from Jharkhand’s Gumla district has been rescued from Chhattisgarh’s Korba district, where she was forced into slavery for over 10 years and allegedly subjected to mental and physical tortures.
Korba superintendent of police Amresh Mishra, in a telephonic conversation with Hindustan Times on Saturday, said that the minor was rescued from the house of a teacher couple.
The couple has been arrested. They are facing charges under Indian Penal Code (IPC) Sections 370 and 344,he said. IPC Section 370 deals with the selling or buying of a person as a slave, while Section 340 deals with cases of wrongful confinement.
Korba deputy superintendent of police DR Porte said the girl was brought by the couple to work as a domestic help when she was six years old.
She was given poor quality food only once in a day, made to work from 5am to midnight every day. She has said that her employers did not even give her medicines or proper medical treatment when she fell ill, he said, adding that the minor was rescued on Friday by Childline 1098 services after a neighbour filed a complaint.
The arrested couple, Sushant and Chandra Sarangi, have been teaching at a Delhi Public School in Chhattisgarh for over a decade.
They brought the girl to Korba on the pretext of providing her quality education but never got her admitted to school, police sources said.
The rescued teenager is under the care of the Korba Child Welfare Committee (CWC) and is staying at a protection home in the district, police said. She has told the CWC that her sisters and cousins stay in Gumla but she cannot identify them since she was not allowed to meet or talk to them for the past 10 years. Her parents are dead, Korba police said.
We will get in touch with the Chhattisgarh police and bring the girl back to Jharkhand once we have all the information about her, said Sampat Meena, inspector general (Organised Crime), Jharkhand police.
Thousands of children, especially tribal girls, are trafficked from Jharkhand to different parts of the country every year to work as domestic helps, claim activists. They are often subjected to mental, physical and sexual tortures by their employers or agents, leading to ailments and even death.
A majority of the girls end up in Delhi, Haryana or Punjab. Chhattisgarh itself is a source state of domestic helps for households in northern states, but primarily works as an exit point due to its geographical location, say activists.