Tribune News Service
Shimla, February 21
A chilling case of two minor sisters (twins), held as bonded labourers and brutally beaten up by their captors, has come to light in Ronhat village of remote Shillai area in Sirmaur district after one of them was admitted to the IGMC here with a head injury last night.
Thirteen-year-old Monu and Sonu (names changed), daughters of Badri Ram, a resident of Masrah village in Chopal subdivision of Shimla district, were taken to Ronhat in Sirmaur district on March 2016 on the pretext that the girls would be treated as family members and encouraged to pursue their studies.
The distance between Masrah and Rohnat is only 15 km and Pankal who took the girls was known to the family. However, the twin sisters were never sent to school and were made to work as domestic helps and beaten up by a family which runs an electronic shop in Ronhat.
On February 15, Usha, land lady, returned late at night and told Monu to massage her legs. As Monu felt sleepy while giving massage, this infuriated Usha who allegedly kicked her on the stomach, following which she fell off the bed and suffered a head injury. Badri, father (who works as a farm labourer) of the girls, received a call that his daughter was unwell and admitted to Shri Mahant Indresh hospital in Dehradun. Badri borrowed money from friends and took a taxi to Dehradun. He said his daughters were being tortured emotionally, psychologically and physically and forced to work as domestic helps.
Badri’s son-in-law, who works in the canteen at the IGMC, apprised his colleagues of the matter and the canteen owner arranged an ambulance to bring the victims to Shimla last night. Sonu told The Tribune that the house owner, Usha, used abusive language against them and beat them up and they were forced to do all household chores and were not even given two square meals. “We were neither paid salary nor allowed to talk to our family members and when we urged her to send us to school she would threaten us that she would send our father to jail if we uttered a single word or told anybody about our plight,” said Monu, who is under treatment at the IGMC. Sonu said the family should be punished for torturing them.
Umang Foundation (NGO) chairman Ajay Srivastav who came forward to help the victims has demanded the registration of a case under child bonded labour Act against the accused.
Meanwhile, help has started pouring in for the victims. Senior Medical Superintendent Ramesh Chand said as the family could not afford treatment, the girls would be provided free medicines. District Programme Officer, Women and Child Development, Rakesh Bhardwaj said all possible help would be ensured for their rehabilitation and they would be sent home after treatment.
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