Mumbai: A tailor couple has threatened to go an indefinite hunger strike against the Mumbai Police to demand justice for the mysterious death of their 15-year-old daughter who was employed as house help by a business family living in an upmarket high-rise in Agripada.
The mourning mother Rukaiya Shaikh has alleged harassment by the employer family leading to the mysterious death of their daughter Shaista on March 30, 2022. The girl was found dead and an accidental death report was registered at the Agripada police station.
“My daughter had been complaining of harassment by her employer and urged us to take her back home. We tried to take her back but the employers refused to let her leave. Fifteen days later, the employer called us early in the morning asking us to collect her dead body, claiming she had jumped from the 15th floor. I refuse to accept that my child would die by suicide,” sobbed Rukaiya.
According to senior police officials, the employer was booked under the relevant sections of the Child and Adolescent Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act for employing a minor. “The case was thoroughly investigated and the post-mortem report by Nair Hospital did not mention any signs of abuse or assault. The report mentioned the cause of death as fall from a high-rise,” explained a police officer attached to the Agripada police station.
The victim’s mother has alleged high-handedness by the Mumbai police who refused to record her statement of her daughter’s harassment. “Fifteen of my relatives and friends were arrested by the police for protesting against her mysterious death. The police insisted that her death was by suicide and that our protest was illegal,” she said.
The Agripada police have denied the allegations and said that the victim’s relatives were arrested for assault and using criminal force to deter a public servant from discharging his duty. The protestors were trying to attack the police station and had even brought eunuchs to create an ugly scene,” a police officer said.
Supporting the couple, NGO Helpcare Foundation president Shabnam Shaikh wrote letters to the Mumbai Commissioner of Police demanding an inquiry into the case. “It’s shocking that the police are refusing to take the family’s statement suspecting foul play in the death of their daughter. The family was unjustly arrested for protesting. It’s imperative to investigate the reason for the cause of unnatural death. The police have simply closed the case as suicide,” said Ms Shaikh.
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