Thursday, September 21, 2017

Aduri still haunted by housewife’s abuse

  • Kamal Hossain Talukdar and Sanjay Kumar Das, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2017-07-17 12:46:15 BdST

bdnews24

Four years on, former domestic worker Aduri remains haunted by the abuse she suffered at the hands of her employer.

The verdict in the case is expected Tuesday and her mother, Shafia Begum, hopes for justice.

About 1,400 days have passed since the violence inflicted on the minor girl grabbed the attention of the media. But Aduri still has nightmares about her employer.

“Nodi. I still see her. I see everything again when I sleep,” she toldbdnews24.com.

Aduri, now 14, lives with her family in Kaurakhali village in the southern district of Patuakhali. She is now a student of class III in a local madrasa.

“She remembers it all,” Shafia told bdnews24.com. “She screams out in the night -- ‘Ma, Nodi is coming for me. I’m scared.’.”

On Sept 23, 2013, police recovered the unconscious body of Aduri from a dustbin in the Dhaka cantonment area. She was only eleven at the time.

 

A police investigation later found that Aduri’s employer, housewife Naorin Jahan Nodi, had attacked the girl the previous day, cutting her with a knife and burning her with a hot iron before dumping her body.

Aduri’s uncle, Nazrul Chowdhury, filed a case under the Prevention of Women and Child Repression Prevention Act with the Pallabi Police Station.

Nodi, her mother Israt Jahan, husband Saiful Islam Masud and their relatives Syed Chunnu Mir and Md Roni were accused in the case.

The verdict in the trial is scheduled for Jul 18.

During her testimony, Aduri said that she was fed only once a day.

Most days she was only allowed to eat puffed rice. On rare occasions she was given boiled rice mixed with a bit of salt or chilli pepper.

She was forced to sleep on the balcony and suffered violence daily.

Aduri says she still feels the effects of physical abuse. Sometimes her body aches or itches. Sometimes she runs fevers.

Nodi confessed to the abuse in court, saying she had a mental breakdown due to financial pressure and would become enraged if Aduri did anything wrong.

“You all know what it should be,” Shafia said when asked what sentence she thought Nodi deserved. “We sent a healthy girl to work because we needed to eat. They have made her disabled. You all know my pain.”

“They left her for dead in a dustbin. It is only thanks to everyone’s prayers that she recovered after a month in hospital.

Dr Bilkis Begum, who treated Aduri when she was brought to the Dhaka Medical College Hospital One-Stop Crisis Centre, told bdnews24.comthat she wanted justice at the trial. “It should set an example.”

Following the death of her husband, Shafia, who has nine children, agreed to send her seventh, Aduri, to work as a domestic aide for Tk 500 a month at the recommendation of Chunnu Mir.

The chargesheet submitted by police SI Queen Akhtar recommended that Mir and Nodi’s husband Masud be removed from the case.

The trial began after Nodi and her mother Israt were indicted. Nodi is currently in prison, her mother is out on bail.

The Dhaka Metropolitan Police had given Aduri’s mother five rickshaws, a small amount of money and some land during the handover of the custody of Aduri.

Two of the rickshaws have broken down, said Shafia. Her son, Sohel Mridha, makes a living as a fisherman. Aduri currently lives on the land given to her family.

Patuakhali police officials visited Aduri on Jul 12 to check up on her.