By: Imran Chaudhry
LAHORE: It’s not erroneous to say that Punjab is currently in a state of lawlessness when it comes to protection of human rights. Another terrible incident of a 12-year-old female housemaid emerged on Thursday who was subjected to brutal torture by a landlord in Defence police area.
The girl was shifted to Lahore General Hospital in a critical condition after the torture.
The injured maid girl was identified as Munza, resident of Defence Phase-5. Police said the administration of the hospital informed local police that a minor girl was admitted in serious condition. Police officers reached the hospital after information about the incident. Girl’s attendant told the police that she worked as a maid in Defence Phase-5 house where her landlord subjected her to torture. They said the landlord did not tell us actual reason but only informed that Munza fell off the stairs.
At least three teenage maid girls were tortured to death by their landlords in different areas of the city during the first month of the current year. Police arrested all the culprits and registered cases against them, but no respite is witnessed in such cases.
A senior police officer said that police started investigation on the statement of injured girl and law enforcers team was also sent to Defence area. He said police also found bruise marks on her face, neck and head, adding that the case would be registered after thorough investigation.
When informed, adviser to Chief Minister Punjab on Health, Khwaja Salman Rafique reached the hospital and inquired about the condition of minor maid. He also directed the hospital administration to provide the best and free medical treatment to the patient. Later, sources said that the injured girl was shifted to Jinnah Hospital for further medical treatment. The condition of injured girl was said to be still in critical condition.
Police did not register any case or arrest any person till filing of this report.
Earlier, a 14-year-old housemaid Fiza Batool had succumbed to her injuries on Sunday night (January 19) after two days of treatment at Services Hospital. She was kept in the intensive care unit. The accused, Prof Salman Rafique, was in police custody. Fiza Batool, a resident of Sialkot district, had been working as a housemaid at Professor Rafique’s DHA residence for the past five years. The house owner then reportedly took her to a nearby hospital but its administration pital refused to treat her due to her serious condition as they believed it was a police case. The doctors advised the house owner to immediately take her to a public hospital; otherwise she might die.
It may be mentioned here that it was the fourth incident in Lahore in which a housemaid died from injuries inflicted by her master.
Some days ago, Iram Ramazan, hailing from Jandara, Okara, died after she was brutally tortured by her employer Nasira and her husband, Altaf. Altaf had hired Iram to work in his house for Rs 2,500 a month. Similarly, Azra, 16, who was a housemaid at a house located in Faisal Town, was tortured by three brothers and she died of her injuries. Azra was the daughter of poor laborer from a village near Pattoki city of District Kasur.
Separately, on January19, a 50-year-old woman Syda Gulshan Zohra was strangled to death by her male maid over unknown issue in the limits of North Cantt police.
Child Protection & Welfare Bureau chairperson Saba Sadiq condemned the incident and emphasised the need for legislation to curb such incidents.
The Institute for Social Justice (ISJ) said that death of 10- year-old Erum- a child domestic worker (CDW)- by her employer in Lahore in the first week of 2014 was a harsh reminder to society and the government. Erum Ramzan’s is one of the cases that show how children are brutally and mercilessly tortured and even killed by employers inside the boundary walls, which go unnoticed and under reported. However, Erum’s is the first reported cases in which the employer has confessed for torturing the child which resulted her death but in all reported cases since January 2010, no employer has admitted the crime, rather in the first place they influence the police and later on courts releases them on the account of no appearance from the victim’s family side or for lack of evidence.
The ISJ’s office bearers said that 2013 was the worst year for children in the field of labour mainly in child domestic work in which more child domestic workers’ cases of tortures and deaths were reported in the media. Since January 2010 to December 2013, 52 cases of tortures on CDWs are reported including 24 deaths. In 2010, 12 cases of torture on CDWs were reported including 7 deaths; in 2011, 10 cases of torture on CDWs were reported, of which 6 children were dead; and in 2012, 8 cases including three deaths were reported.
In 2013, 21 cases, including 8 deaths of CDWs were reported. All of the cases in 2013 were reported from Punjab province; except two, all were girls. The last reported case in December 2013 was of a nine year old girl from Gujranwala who was beaten up by her employer on the account of stealing gold. She was hanged upside down from a ceiling fan.