Mon, Oct 07, 2013 - Page 4 News List

Indian maid claims boss tortured her

BOSS FROM HELL:The maid says her nails were pulled out by the woman who employed her. Social rights campaigners said she was mauled by dogs

AFP, NEW DELHI

A teenage Indian maid rescued last week with horrific injuries has alleged her employer forced her to drink urine, kept her naked in the bathroom and burned her with a frying pan, reports said on Saturday.

The young woman was speaking to the media on Friday after being rescued by police from a home in an upscale New Delhi neighborhood following complaints by neighbors.

Police say the teenager had been tortured by her employer, a 50-year-old Indian woman who works for a French multinational.

“[My employer] forced me to drink urine, kept me naked in the bathroom and would singe me with a frying pan and hit me with a broom,” the maid told the Hindustan Times newspaper.

“She would laugh after beating me,” the girl said.

The girl also alleged her nails were pulled out and a piece of paper on which she had written down the telephone numbers of her relatives had been torn up, the Indian Express reported.

After her rescue last week, social rights campaigners added that she had been slashed with knives and mauled by dogs.

The girl’s account has focused the spotlight on abuse of domestic servants, including illegally employed children.

The employees are sometimes trafficked from poverty-stricken, remote Indian states into urban centers where they toil for long hours in homes and are paid little, if at all.

The teenager — who was initially reported to be 15, but is about 18 according to police — spoke to journalists in hospital, where she is recovering from multiple injuries all over her body, including a deep wound on her head.

The maid recounted her alleged ordeal in detail after being reunited with her mother on Friday, the English-language daily said.

Photographs showed the girl hugging her tearful mother inside a hospital room. The girl, from the impoverished state of Jharkhand in the east of India, told police after her rescue that she had been working for her employer for the past year.

Social rights activists who assisted in the police rescue said she was slashed with knives and mauled by five dogs kept as pets by her employer, who lived with her 85-year-old mother in the house.

The employer, who has been arrested and is facing charges of illegal confinement and assault, has denied the allegations and has accused the teenager of being mentally unstable.

Charges would not be pressed against the employer’s elderly mother on account of her age, police said.

Stories about impoverished domestic servants being abused and neglected by their rich employers frequently appear in Indian news reports.

In April last year, police arrested a wealthy doctor couple who were reported to have locked up their 13-year-old maid while they went away on holiday to Thailand.

She was alone in the house for four days while the owners were away and was rescued by firefighters when neighbors spotted her crying on a balcony.

In 2006, India passed legislation banning the employment of children under the age of 14 in households, roadside eateries and hotels.

However, the law is widely flouted in the country of 1.2 billion people.

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