Monday December 05, 2022

Why influence against domestic servants rising?

June 08, 2020

Islamabad : Over a period of less than a month, two domestic servants, both females, both not even in their teens yet, one among them have been killed, the other hurt seriously, because of violent beating by their employers in the twin cities.

There are unconfirmed reports or rumours circulating that the poor victim was also sexually abused before she was eventually killed or died because the victim could not bear the physical violence any more.

There was a frenzy in media over the matter and there jumped in the human rights organizations of all kind. Everybody in the society hoped that it would become a trend setter in the society and justice will be administered in a way that such incidents will never happen anywhere in the country against the domestic help.

The trend was set indeed, but unfortunately it was the other way round. The money and influence turned out to be the ultimate winner. A compromise was struck with the poor family, which initially received some serious threats and later succumbed to the money lure, to pardon the perpetrators of the violence.

And, now it appears, the trend seems to have taken roots. The family of the latest victim, 8-year-old Zahra Bibi, was too poor to travel to Rawalpindi to receive the dead body of their child. The local police made the arrangements to transport the tiny coffin to her village somewhere in district Muzaffargarh.

The cruel action of Zahra Bibi’s employer, Hassan Siddiqui and his wife, could be described nothing less than the portrayal of sadistic tendencies in the couple because while husband, Hassan Siddiqui was beating the poor child, wife was busy making the video on her telephone.

The girl was dead before she was shifted to the hospital. The fact that the police investigators are suspecting more than just physical violence as the ‘First Information Report’ (FIR) has already included the clause of ‘ziyadti’ (sexual abuse) as well.

The Police investigators said that they have already send the samples for chemical examination to Lahore and this particular ‘allegation’ could only be verified after receiving the ‘Report’ of chemical examination from the laboratory in Lahore.

To some it may be a shocking fact but there is only one laboratory in whole of Punjab that caters to the needs of conducting all kind of medical tests in which criminal intent is suspected. So, it is always over loaded. And, traditionally people usually have forgotten all about the case by the time a report from the ‘only laboratory’ in the province is received by the police to proceed with the case.

The people engaged in the investigation of the case, disclosed when contacted by this scribe, the accused Hassan Siddiquei, owning up his felony during three-day physical remand, said, “He just kicked vigorously on her belly and she could not bear the hit and fell unconscious,” and added, so, bleeding opened from her sensitive lower part of her body and nose. The minor succumbed to her internal injuries.

Usually it takes many months and by that time a compromise between the ‘rich’ and the ‘poor’ is already reached and in majority of cases the families of victims have ‘voluntarily’ withdrawn the case or have ‘pardoned’ the criminal.

And while everybody, well, almost everybody, was focused on the death of Zahra Bibi, another case of brutal violence against a young girl domestic servant, according to police FIR, aged between 6-7 years, was reported from the Lohi Bhair Police Station in Islamabad Capital Territory.

According to the Lohi Bhair Police FIR, the young domestic servant has been identified as Mehak, daughter of Mazhar Abbas, a resident of Multan. On the spot physical check up by a lady police constable confirmed bruises and marks of severe violence on arms, legs and other parts of the body of the domestic servant.

The worrying thing is the growing number of such incidents of severe violence against domestic servants, particularly, young girls. The social scientists believe that the incidents being reported to the police or coming to the knowledge of general public from different sources, are the tip of an iceberg.

“The actual number of such acts of violence against female domestic servants could be alarmingly high if an effective survey is conducted by some independent sources. There are so many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working for child’s rights and against sexual and physical abuse of such children. Their services could be acquired to prepare an authentic and comprehensive data base of such female as well as male domestic servants who fall in the category of ‘child’,” the social scientist said.

The incidents of violence against domestic help, mostly young girls below the age of 10, belonging to the poorest of the poor families, either inhabitants of the slums of Islamabad or from different, far off parts of the country, started getting highlighted with the infamous beating case of a young girl by the wife of a member of an honourable lower judiciary.