House of horrors

House of horrors

Bengaluru


Neighbours enter the house in Koramangala after hearing 5-year-old girl’s cries, find scared and starving child with bruises and burn marks on body

T he neighbours of a couple, who used to yell and abuse their five-year-old girl, were in for a shock when they decided to break open the door and enter the house after the child’s cries became intolerable. They allege they saw the child cowering and crying, with bruises and burn marks all over body. The couple, who claimed they were the child’s parents, were arrested but are out on bail now.

Neighbours said ever since the couple moved into the house in Koramangala six months ago, they have heard the couple hurling abuses and beating the child. When they found the child, her feet had been burnt, which the couple allegedly did so that she did not step outside the house. The neighbours alleged that the woman used to take the child out and leave her to beg on the streets.

The child, Asha (name changed) has sustained burn injuries and cuts on her face and hands and is currently undergoing treatment. She will be handed over to the child welfare department. The accused couple, Manjula and Darvin, are residents of 8th block Koramangala.

Police said the accused did not have any children of their own and had brought home their friend’s child. They work in small shops. Jayalakshmi, 38, a neighbour who lives about 500 metres away from their house, was the one who heard the child’s cry and rushed to her rescue.

“The couple moved into the house about six months ago and since then almost everyday, we used to hear the child crying and the two yelling at her. Initially, the neighbours would ask them why they were beating the kid, but they would reply that she is their daughter and they could do whatever they want. They had asked us not to interfere with their family matters.

Manjula would fight with almost every neighbour in the area over this issue as most of us would advise her not to be so harsh on the child as she is still very young,” said Jayalakshmi. On Wednesday morning, Jayalakshmi said they all heard Asha cry out loud.

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They went near the house to check, but Manjula is said to have abused them from her balcony. “We asked her to open the door as we wanted to see the child, but she refused and went in. But we could hear her beating Asha,” she said. The neighbours decided to break the door and enter. “We found the child with bruises all over her body. The two tried to attack us for taking the girl away but we caught them and informed the police,” she said.

Jayalakshmi said Asha was made to starve all night and they had not given her food. “She had marks of previous burn injuries from cigarettes on her hands and legs and fresh burn marks on her feet due to which she could not walk or run away from them. She told us that they would beat her with a hot spatula on her mouth for crying or screaming inside the house. Asha had several cuts on her body,” she said.

She added that though Manjula claimed that she was her mother, she never took care of her. “She used to make her wear ragged clothes and take her outside to beg on the road. All the neighbours have witnessed this. Though they were arrested they managed to come out on bail,” she said.

A senior officer said that they have booked the couple under IPC section 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by weapons or means) and 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) along with Juvenile Justice (care and protection of children) Act. “Asha’s mother had many children and lost her husband recently.

As she could not take care of Asha, she gave her to her friend, Manjula who was like a sister to her. Manjula and Darvin decided to take her to their house and she had been living with them for several months. They could not take care of the child properly and started beating her for everything. The neighbours alerted us and based on their complaint, we arrested the two,” he said.

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