(Trigger warning: Description of violence)
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Video Producer: Naman Shah
Video Editors: Mohd Irshad Alam, Pawan Kumar
A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader in Jharkhand's Ranchi, accused of allegedly torturing and confining a 29-year-old tribal woman working at her house, was suspended by the party on Tuesday, 30 August.
Seema Patra, the wife of a retired IAS officer, Maheshwar Patra, was a member of the national working committee of the BJP's women wing.
Ranchi Police has registered an FIR in the matter under relevant sections of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, but no arrests have been made till now.
The incident came to light when the victim, identified as Sunita, a resident of Gumla in Jharkhand, was rescued by the Ranchi Police on 22 August.
Moreover, a video of her also surfaced online where Sunita, who is undergoing treatment at the Rajendra Institute of Medical Science (RIMS) in Ranchi, is seen narrating the torture she had to go through while she was working at the BJP leader's house.
As per media reports, Sunita was hired by Seema as a domestic worker around 10 years ago. Later, when the couple's daughter was moving to Delhi for work, Sunita was sent along with her.
'Locked Me in a Room': Sunita
After a few years, their daughter and Sunita came back to Ranchi. As per Sunita's account, that's when Patra started torturing her. Sunita had asked Patra for her permission to go back to her native village, but she allegedly beat her up and locked her in a room.
As per the claims made by Sunita, Patra hit her with a rod and a hot pan. She further added that her teeth were smashed and she was made to lick urine off the floor.
Sunita also said that Patra's son, Ayushman, had helped her and saved her from his mother. "It is only because of him that I am alive," she said.
In the video, Sunita also said that she would like to study further after she has recovered from her injuries.
Will Make Arrests Soon: Police
The police have registered a First Information Report (FIR) on the basis of the complaint filed by Vivek Anand, a college batchmate of Ayushman, under Sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 325 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt), 346 (wrongful confinement), and 374 (unlawful compulsory labour) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and sections of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. However, no arrests have been made so far.
When asked why Patra has not been arrested, Ranchi SSP Kishor Kaushal told The Quint that they were investigating the matter and would make arrests soon.
The Quint also tried contacting Seema Patra and her daughter, but did not receive a response.
How Was Sunita Rescued?
"A few days before the rescue, Ayushman called me and said that something is not going well in this house. These people will kill him and Sunita," Vivek Anand told The Quint.
He further added Seema asked her to come along when she was taking Ayushman to the hospital.
"The next day, Seema called me and said that Ayushmann's mental condition is not good and he will have to be admitted to the psychiatric hospital, come along. At the hospital, Ayushman shouted at his mother accusing her of torturing Sunita," Anand added.
Vivek further added that after the hospital incident, he inquired about Sunita with other domestic workers. They said that her condition was very critical and she might not survive in the house for many days, he added.
"After this, on 21 August, I gave information about the whole matter to the Deputy Commissioner of Ranchi. He formed a team after talking to the SSP and then Sunita was rescued from there," he said.
NCW Writes to Jharkhand DGP
In view of the incident, the National Commission for Women said that it has taken cognisance of media reports of Seema Patra brutally assaulting and harassing her domestic worker. "NCW has written to Jharkhand DGP for a fair probe & to arrest the accused if allegations are true," NCW was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.