With 40 percent of her body burnt, 10-year old Tamanna was writhing in pain on a bed at the burn unit of Chittagong Medical College Hospital yesterday.
The little girl, who worked as a domestic help at a house in the port city's Shulakbahar area, caught fire when lighting a gas oven to boil water.
She is now fighting for life at the hospital with burns over her neck, chest, abdomen, back and hands.
Talking to The Daily Star, Tamanna said that on Friday morning her employer Ayesha Akter asked her to boil water. When she heated water for her, Ayesha beat her up saying the water was not boiled properly.
“Then she [Ayesha] ordered me to boil the water again. At the kitchen, while lighting the gas oven, my clothes took fire,” said Tamanna.
Ayesha said the fire spread all over Tamanna's body as the girl got panicked and ran to and fro. “Hearing her screams, we rushed to the kitchen and doused the fire.”
Tamanna was taken to CMCH.
Dr Mishma Islam, medical officer at the CMCH burn unit, said Tamanna's condition was critical and she might need ICU support.
Tamanna's mother Saleha Begum, who works as a domestic help, said Ayesha used to torture Tamanna ever since she joined the work on December 16 last year.
“When I went to the house three to four days ago, Tamanna was crying to come back with me as she did not want to stay there for physical and mental torture by Ayesha over trivial matters.”
Tamanna echoed her mother.
They both looked terrified and could not talk properly in the presence of Ayesha at the hospital. It was after Ayesha had left that the two could tell their stories.
However, Ayesha denied having tortured the girl and said she did not order Tamanna to boil water.
“I once beat her lightly as she has a habit of frequent urination,” said Ayesha adding, “I treat her as my daughter and will bear the expenses of her treatment.”
Tamanna is the second among four children of Saleha and rickshaw van driver Md Momin.