Gadag girl abused for 7 months in Goa

A medical report noted 23 injuries on her body, some of them grievous burn marks, and permanent disfigurement of her face, public prosecutor Poonam Bharne told the court.

The case has provoked public outrage with leader of Opposition Manohar Parrikar saying that he was ashamed to be a Goan after one of the main accused Audumber Pednekar was out on bail in a day.

Pednekar failed to show up in the court on Friday when the state asked for his bail to be cancelled. His wife Meenaxi, who is alleged to have burnt the girl with a hot spoon, came for the anticipatory bail hearing with her six-month-old twins. The court will rule in the matter on Saturday.

The Pednekars and their sister-in-law Tina Waghle face charges under the IPC, Goa Childrens Act and Prevention of Atrocities (SC/ST) Act.

The child, who is from a lambani family, is now being treated at Goa Medical College under the care of an NGO. She told the police that she was from Gadag but had been living with her grandparents in Vasco after her father’s death.

She was sent off to work as a domestic with the Pednekars after a man approached her grandmother who was paid Rs 800 for the deal. The middleman himself collected Rs 4,000 from the Pednekars.

Apart from burns, the girl was beaten with a cable wire, washing machine pipe and was often kicked, Bharne told the court. She said if the girl had not managed to escape from her tormentors, her fate might have been far worse. The girl ran away and was taken to the Mapusa police by a shopkeeper who was shocked to see her condition.

Defence lawyer Damodar Dhond who argued that the Lambanis from Karnataka could not claim Scheduled Tribe status in Goa was reprimanded by Judge B P Deshpande. “Does that mean they can be humiliated in other states,” he asked. Criminal law does not discriminate against people of different states, the judge said.

DH News Service

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