New Delhi: A BJP leader in Jharkhand was Tuesday suspended amid allegations that she had brutally tortured and wrongfully confined her household help.
Sunita Kumari, a 29-year-old woman from Jharkhand’s Gumla, who worked as a domestic help at the house of BJP leader Seema Patra and her husband Maheshwar Patra, a former IAS officer, also accused the politician of breaking her teeth with an iron rod and thrashing her with hot ‘tawas’.
An FIR was registered against the accused and the survivor taken for treatment.
Seema was a member of the National Working Committee of BJP’s Mahila Morcha and the state convenor of the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ campaign. BJP’s Ranchi head Deepak Prakash confirmed her suspension in a statement released to the media.
In videos which have now gone viral, Sunita says she had been working with the family for 8-10 years and was initially hired to help the accused’s daughter, Vatsala Patra, who lived in Delhi. Vatsala, along with Sunita, had returned to Ranchi four years ago.
Speaking to ThePrint, Superintendent of Police, Ranchi, Anshuman Kumar, confirmed that Sunita was rescued in a severely malnourished state from the accused’s house. He also said Seema’s son, Ayushman Patra, had narrated the incidents to his friend, Vivek Baski, an ex-section officer in the Jharkhand government. Baski, in turn, complained to District Commissioner Rahul Kumar Sinha before filing an FIR.
According to police, an FIR was registered against Seema under IPC section 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 325 (punishment for voluntarily causing grievous hurt), 346 (wrongful confinement) and section 374 (unlawful compulsory labour), and under sections 3 and 1(a), (h) of the SC/ST Atrocities Act. No arrests have, however, been made so far.
Vinod Kumar, station house officer, Argora Police Station, also confirmed to ThePrint that an FIR has been registered and the survivor’s statement has been recorded before an executive magistrate in the civil court.
Jharkhand Governor Ramesh Bias also asked Director General of Police Niraj Sinha why no arrests had been made so far and sought immediate action, according to a statement released by the government.
‘Beaten with hot tawas and rods’
In the videos, Sunita can be heard narrating her ordeal from a hospital bed. “Beaten with hot tawas and rods as punishment,” she can be heard saying.
Sunita goes on to say that she was confined in a room for several days without food or water recently after she insisted on going back home. Sunita can also be seen bearing several injuries on her body.
She further claims that she was forced to lick her urine from the floor. Admitting that she was thrashed frequently and burnt with hot utensils, she also goes on to accuse Seema of breaking her teeth with an iron rod.
The survivor also says that “it was only because of” the accused’s son, Ayushman, that she was alive.