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12-year-old's journey to hell

Taken from:
Hindustan Times, May 24, 1994.

Written by Girja Shankar Kaura.

MEERUT, May 23: At the tender age of 12 Parminder Kaur alias Deepa, a native of Basti AbduUahpur, Ludhiana, has already made a journey to hell. She was raped since the age of five allegedly by her father and three sons of her father's elder brother. As if that was not enough, the diminutive girl suffering from epilepsy was allegedly branded with hot iron rods and tongs, beaten with burning wood, stripped naked, tortured, deprived of her hair and thrown into a nullah by the employees of a government home for destitute women here on Friday night.

Wearing just a vest she was found roaming aimlessly by a rickshaw puller at night and brought to the all- woman police station in the Meerut - Civil Lines. On the way he got her an undergarment and managed to get an FIR registered.

The police yesterday arrested two of the four accused women employees of the government home for destitute women. Champa and Sushila, who allegedly played a major role in the torture of Deepa; were produced in the court - and were remanded to judicial custody. A hunt is on for the other two accused " Seema and Sushma" both of whom are absconding.

Deepa in the meantime is under the care of the staff of the all woman police station. She is being given appropriate medical treatment. But the shock and< trauma of the torture inflicted on her is so great that she get the attacks of epilepsy at least once in every 24 hours. Deep cut, and burn wounds were visible all over her legs, thighs, back and hands when this correspondent met her at the police station today. Unable to sit or walk properly Deepa was horrified at the suggestion of going back home. "Now I will just stay here," she kept repeating when asked what she wanted to do in the future.

Although she suffered great physical torture at the government home for women, but her misery began long ago when she was just five-year old. Her mother being mentally deranged, her father, Surjeet Singh, an alcoholic, the three sons of his elder brother allegedly started raping her. The father would allegedly, force his ways with the girl almost every night. Getting no protection from anyone, the girl bore the agony inflicted by her father and her three cousins.

As she grew up, Deepa started suffering from epilepsy and became a burden for her father who was without a job. Since he wanted to get rid of her, he abandoned her near Malerkotla about six months ago. Two constables who found her, admitted her to a Nari Niketan at Saharanwr from where she was transferred to the Rajkiya Mahila Uttar Raksha Graha about three months ago where her physical torture began. She was undergoing treatment for her fits at the Meerut district hospital but for the employees she was a problem.

Deepa alleged that she and the other inmates of the government home for destitute women where, often harassed by the employees. Deepa was reportedly their main target as she was considered to be a nuisance because of her fits. Deepa said that on the fateful evening, Champa started beating her after accusing her of stealing a tea packet. Champa then called the other three "Sushila, Seema and Sushma" and started torturing the girl.

Deepa alleged that Sushila summoned Seema and ordered her to cut her hair while Champa and Sushila stripped her naked. They then allegedly showered her with blows and threatened to burn her alive. They then branded her with burning wood, hot iron rods and tongs and beat her up with lathis. According to Parminder the four women branded her all over her back, her thighs, legs and even on her private parts. All this while the other inmates at the home kept watching but did not have the courage to come to Deepa's help. They were also allegedly threatened with dire consequences

After Deepa fell unconscious, she was apparently thrown into the nullah outside the home. When she came around about an hour later, she called out for help and was let into the home by the other inmates. However, the four women again allegedly surrounded her and threatened her she would be killed if she did not leave the home immediately.

With no option, Deepa finally walked out in the pitch of the night. On her way out she could lay her hands just on a vest, which she put on and started walking on the road. She finally found her savior in the rickshaw-puller.

The station officer of the allwomen police station Ms Swaranjit Kaur said that certainly an attempt had been made on the Iffe of Deepa. She said that all efforts were on to nab the other two absconding women. Meanwhile, a case under Section 326. 504. and 506. of the IPC has been registered. Efforts were also on to verify Deepa's earlier story.

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