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08-26-2009, 03:25 PM #1
Minor maid was under mom's care: Suchitra
To highlight child labour and domestic abuse, if I was victimized for a day, it is no big deal, says Suchitra Krishnamoorthi
In the wake of the growing abuse of domestic servants and minors in Mumbai, the Maharashtra government filed a case yesterday against Bollywood actress, poet and writer Suchitra Krishnamoorthi and TV star Laxmi for allegedly employing child labour. The action comes barely three days after television actress Urvashi Dhanorkar was arrested on Saturday for beating, burning and confining her 10-year old maid after she caught her "eating".
Denying the allegation, Suchitra Krishnamoorthi said that she is meeting the Labour Minister Nawab Malik today at Mantralaya (state secretariat) “to clarify the issue and my name. An accusation of this magnitude by the state government is something I take very seriously and negates and makes the mockery of all the hard work and energy I have put into the upliftment of the girl child in our country.”
She reiterates, “I have been wrongly accused. I have not employed anyone underage or done anything illegal. The media needs to get its facts right before making a nautanki of people's lives. I do feel wronged but its okay. My feelings are less important than the truth-and I'll be grateful for the truth to be reported in a correct and responsible manner."
A shocked but pragmatic Suchitra maintains, “I think it was wrong of them to drag my name into a case and accuse me of something so heinous. It goes against the grain of everything I stand for and believe in and base my life on. But on the other hand if it serves the larger purpose of stopping the abuse of child labour and domestic abuse I am glad to have been of help. It is important that these matters be brought to light and if I was victimized for a day it is no big deal-if it helps other girls and women escape a life time of victimization and abuse -it's a scandal well worth my time.”
Asked how such an issue ever cropped up, she elaborates, “The fact of the matter is that an NGO had approached my mother Dr Sulochana Krishnamoorthi in May 2007 regarding a 13-year-old, who was under her care at the request of another maid whose ******** was refusing to keep the young girl at home. So the maid had requested my mom to let the 13-year-old girl stay at my parents' home in Veera Desai Road (Andheri in Mumbai) for a few days till she could organise her ticket back to the village."
Suchitra adds, "My parents were actually in the process of relocating to Bangalore at that time. It was actually very inconvenient for them but my mother's intentions were to protect the child — so much so that when the NGO and police came knocking at her door she refused to hand over the child to anyone except her aunt — saying that the girl was her responsibilty and she didn’t want a young girl to spend time alone in a police station or public place.That is what had happened and it was two-and-a-half years ago. I didn't even know about this incident till today.”
She continues, “ My mother is a doctorate in history and a professor, her main subject being women’s education in India. She is well known for her charitable acts towards the poor and
underpriveleged. In fact, she is one of those ladies who used to call the poor kids from the neighbourhood once a month and feed them and give them English lessons. Her intentions in bringing the girl into her home were to give her shelter till she was sent back to her
village safely and nothing else and that’s what she did. By virtue of being her daughter my name has got dragged into it.”
08-27-2009, 01:53 PM #2