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Royal couple under scrutiny for torture
June 15, 2004 19:58 IST
Lying on a bed in the surgical ward of the M K C G Medical College Hospital in Berhampur, 8-year-old Prasanta Nahak evokes sympathy among whoever comes across him.
An orphan, Prasanta has been in the limelight following allegations that a couple, belonging to the erstwhile royal family of Khariar, had tortured the boy.
Police have registered a case under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and also the Juvenile Justice (care and protection of children) Act against the couple, Bhubaneswar Singh Deo and Pushpalata, and the government had asked the Crime Branch to inquire into the matter.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has described it as a 'terrible incident' and promised stringent action against the culprits.
People drop in sometimes to have a glimpse of the sickly child being treated for his several wounds allegedly inflicted over a period of time.
Prasanta, who belongs to Sodaka village in Ganjam district, used to water the plants, wash clothes, shopped for household items and at times cooked in the house of the Singh Deo couple.
"I tried to do all the work but if I committed any mistake I was thrashed," he sobbed.
"We had sent him to Khariar so he can stand on his own legs, but have found him in such condition," one of the boy's relatives said.
Intra-venous fluids were being administered to Prasanta who appeared traumatised.
"Once I was asked to sit on a heater, which was hot. I cried out in pain but no one listened....," he said recounting his ordeal at Khariar.
He was first treated at the government hospital at Polsara before being admitted to the hospital in Bhubaneswar on Sunday evening.
Doctors hope the child will recover fully. He is suffering from prolonged malnutrition and multiple injuries. It will take a long time for the wounds to heal.
"Though his condition is serious, he is out of danger," said Dr S Mohapatra, who has been attending to him.
Ganjam District Collector Sanjib Kumar Mishra who met the child and his relatives at the hospital said he would be treated in Berhampur for at least a month with the cost being borne by the district Red Cross Fund.
The boy's relatives, however, turned down the offer to rehabilitate the boy at the Banadebi Seva Sadan at Kabisuryanagar.
"Now I have thought of writing to the SOS Children's Village at Bhubaneswar to take care of him after he is discharged from the hospital," the collector said.
Meanwhile, the Indian Society for Rural Development (ISRD), an NGO working for eradication of child labour, demanded stringent action against those responsible for the boy's condition.
This case has brought to light the manner in which people were treating their domestic help, ISRD convener Sudhir Sabat said in a statement.Prafulla Samantara, convener of Lok Shakti Abhiyan, in a statement in Berhampur, urged the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to take up the matter.
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