A 48-year-old domestic help Rajni, who used to work at a couple’s house in Delhi was allegedly thrashed by the employers and her hair was allegedly chopped off by them at Rajouri Garden in West Delhi. The investigating police informed about the case to media on Thursday and the incident had taken place on Sunday.
According to the police, Rajni is from Siliguri, which is in the northern part of West Bengal and is a gateway to Northeast India. She worked as a domestic helper in Delhi. Currently, Rajni is undergoing treatment and police said that her family in Siliguri has been informed about it.
The employers used to pay Rajni a meagre amount of Rs 7,000 per month. The police informed them that she had a history of assault, perpetrated by her employers. The Deputy Commissioner of Police (West) Ghanshyam Bansal said, “An information regarding an MLC (medico-legal case) of a lady was received on May 17 from Safdarjung Hospital. As per the MLC, the patient was brought to casualty with an alleged history of physical assault by her employers.”
Domestic Help Thrashed By Delhi Couple
The police stated that they have taken her statement, in which she alleged that her employer Abhineet and his wife had assaulted her and chopped her hair off. The DCP further added that a case under the sections dealing with voluntarily causing hurt, wrongful confinement and assault has been registered under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The placement agency told the media that they had received a call from the employers who alleged that the employee was sick. They dropped her off at the office, where later she was found lying in her own urine and couldn’t move. She was then taken to the hospital, where she informed the person that the couple used to assault her regularly and that on Sunday, they dragged her out of her room and chopped her hair.
The police updating about the survivor’s condition said, “The medical examination report from Safdarjung Hospital stated that the woman suffered “physical assault”, “head trauma” and was “vomiting.” She also had injuries on her eyes, face, limbs, abdomen along with other body parts.”
The survivor had reportedly started working at the employers’ place in September last year. Another officer said that the couple had another helper before that, they had complained about her stealing from the house and spiking their food with rat poison.
Clearly, the couple had a pattern. Before hiring someone we tend to do background research on the person, should not the agency be doing the same when picking possible employers for an employee? Why did the matter have to come to this extent for the survivor to be rescued? Does this not question the employment system we have in place for domestic help in India?
The market dealing with domestic help is largely and loosely an informal sector and most of the time, employees hardly have a place where they can complain about mistreatment by their employers. They are usually brought from faraway places like Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Northeast, amongst others to Delhi and other metropolitan cities to satisfy the need for wealth class people.
Treated in a subhuman condition, most often people forget that they are just service providers. Not only are they paid the minimum of minimum wage, and they are also exploited and made to work inhumane hours. Apart from the exploitation, they are also discriminated against in day to day activities like using lifts, sitting on the same level as their employers, and using the washroom inside the house, amongst other things.
We live in a time where we keep screaming about merit and equality but leave all the wokeness when it comes to the treatment of domestic helpers. Change needs to bring in the way we treat people who are helping us by being there. These demands for better wages, living conditions and equal rights need to be incorporated into the policy making as well.