New Delhi: Suspended BJP leader in Jharkhand, Seema Patra, was arrested Wednesday morning on charges of grievously hurting her domestic help, a tribal woman who is now recovering in a Ranchi hospital.
The leader, ironically the former state head of the BJP’s “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” campaign, has been accused of harassing and brutally torturing the 29-year-old Sunita Kumari, who worked for the politician for nearly a decade.
Officers said she struck Sunita with hot tawas, rods and even broke her teeth. Patra has also been accused of wrongful confinement. The incident was reported after her son asked a friend to help the maid.
Speaking to ThePrint, Superintendent of Police (Ranchi) Anshuman Kumar said: “Patra was camping elsewhere and only came back home late last night. The police arrested her in an early morning raid today. Her husband was with her. She is being questioned and the probe is on.”
He further said Patra tried to defend herself at the time of arrest but her official statement is yet to be recorded.
While being taken into custody, Patra said the allegations against her were “false and politically motivated”. She has been sent to police remand till 12th September.
After the incident came to light, Jharkhand Governor Ramesh Bias issued a statement Tuesday evening demanding immediate action.
The National Commission for Women (NCW) too sought her arrest. The panel termed the harassment “extremely disturbing” and the act of violence “shameful”. It also asked for a report after seven days.
An NCW statement said: “The Commission has also written for a fair and time-bound investigation into the matter. The Commission has sought best medical treatment for the victim and to ensure her safe rehabilitation.”
A case had been filed against the accused under Sections 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons), 325 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt), 349 (using force), and the SC/ST Atrocities Act Section 1(a), (h) for “neglect by a public servant” and Section 3 (cause injury to member of SC/ST).
Sunita Kumari was rescued by the police and taken to the RIMS hospital, Ranchi. Thereafter, she also recorded her statement in front of a magistrate. She is still undergoing treatment.
Meanwhile, the Jharkhand unit of the BJP has said it has “zero tolerance for atrocities against the SC/ST communities”. The party said: “When the brutality towards the maid was highlighted, the BJP state president immediately suspended her.”
The party has also constituted a committee to probe the incident and has served Seema Patra a show-cause notice regarding the termination of her primary membership.
With inputs from ANI
Also read: BJP suspends Jharkhand leader accused of ‘beating’ domestic help with hot tawa, ‘breaking teeth’