13-yr-old domestic escapes from ‘hell’ after four long years

Chitwan, March 23:

It has been hell for 13-year-old Sheela Chaudhari, who faced torture, got only old rags to wear and short commons to feast on for her hard work and devotion to duty for four years despite the promises handed out to her and her father.

Sheela, a maid in the house of Dhir Bahadur Joshi of Jagatpur-1, Khadgauli, was hanging on by a slender thread and could only today reach Bharatpur, seeking treatment for herself and legal aid against the Joshi couple — with help from concerned citizens.

Sheela, hailing from Madi in Baanderjhula, who worked at the Joshis’ house for four years said she was abused and tortured regularly by Joshi and his wife, Sunu Maya Joshi.

Sheela was rescued and brought to Bharatpur by Jagatpur semi-judicial committee. She was in tatters and had bruises and wounds on her body.

Sheela said initially the Joshis treated her well. She added that her father had left her at their house, hoping that she would be able to earn some money and also have access to a better life. Sheela said the mistress of the house beat her regularly and gave her only old rags to wear. Showing bruises on her face, Sheela said, “These were caused by a knife.”

Sheela said she was beaten up on flimsy grounds at the drop of a hat. She added that she was never told what her wages would be. She never got any, in any case, she said.

Kamala Poudel, chairperson of the committee that rescued Sheela, said “We had heard that this girl was being tortured and we had been keeping an eye on the Joshis. Our colleagues yesterday saw them banging the girl’s head on the wall. We could’nt take it any longer and brought her here for treatment.”

Poudel added that Dhir Bahadur Joshi was claiming that he had already paid the girl’s father in advance for three years at a rate of Rs 300 per month. Poudel said Joshi had been handed over to the police and Sheela had been consigned to the care of the Community Legal Research Centre (CLRC).

CLRC counsel, advocate Gopi Lal Devkota said that the centre would do all it could to provide Sheela legal relief. Officials of the District Police Office, Chitwan, said a probe into the matter swas underway.