A landlord allegedly subjected his 12-year-old housemaid to brutal torture to make her confess a theft, kept in illegal confinement and received the theft money from her poor parents.

Poverty-stricken and indebted Anwar Ali, a tenant Basti Araian, had been left with no option but to send his daughter Haleema to work in the house of Qaisar Chattha one year ago against Rs30,000 in advance and Rs2,000 per month salary. She continued to work at the house. Last month, an amount of Rs50,000 was stolen from the house and his wife Bushra accused the girl of stealing the money.

“The family subjected her to severe torture, beat with iron rods, sprinkled acid on her hands and feet and cut her hair and kept in illegal confinement for 15 days,” alleged the victim. “The landlord sprinkled kerosene oil on me and lit the match saying he will burn me alive if I does not confess the crime.” The minor girl had no option but to confess the crime which she “didn’t committed”.  On this, he summoned her father and family members to announce the verdict as girl had confessed the crime. He asked the parents to pay the theft amount if they want to get the girl back. The poor family collected loans from people to rescue the girl from “confinement” of the landlord.

Father of the girl, Anwar Ali, said that the landlord threatened him of dire consequences if he informed the police about the incident. He appealed to Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to take notice a stern action against the landlord. DPO Chiniot Munir Zia said that police had contacted the aggrieved family and a legal action would be taken against the accused.

On the other side, Ghulam Fatima, the general secretary of the Bonded Labour Liberation Front, has taken a notice of the incident. He said that bonded labour not only existed in brick kilns but also in houses. He noted that the trend was increasing despite the Supreme Court rulings to abolish bonded labour from the society.  She said the Supreme Court should take notice of the incident and bonded and child labour must be eliminated from houses as well.