Child domestic worker set on fire
The news of 12-year-old Purnima, being set alight by her employer and then left in a warehouse without any medical treatment, fills us with horror and disgust. That the couple who did this to her worked in collusion to carry on such torture on a child is all the more shocking. The mistress of the house regularly beat her and her husband did nothing to stop her. Rather, he abetted in the torture.
Such a depraved mindset has been manifested in many other cases that have been reported where the husband, wife and even children have participated in sadistic acts against domestic workers. The younger they are, the more vulnerable they become to the violence inflicted by their employers. Despite a draft policy being approved by the government that includes giving basic rights to domestic workers as guaranteed under the labour law, we are yet to see it being implemented. In the case of child domestic workers, their work often falls in the 'hazardous jobs' category and therefore should not be allowed in the first place. Unfortunately sheer poverty and the idea that their child will at least be fed three square meals force parents to send him/her to work in households.
We must therefore have clear legal provisions whereby a child worker can report abuse and be rescued before it is too late. While horrific cases like that of Purnima, who has severe burns all over her body, make the news, there are thousands of other children working in households who are regularly being tortured by their employers. Such behaviour must be publicly shamed and punished through a stringent legal process.