Twelve-year-old Jannati, who worked at an engineer’s home in Dhaka, was tortured to death on Tuesday by the engineer’s wife
Could she have ever known that her counting of the days to go back to her parents, to her golden school days will never come to an end?
She was sent to her parents, but in a lifeless body. Twelve-year-old Jannati, who worked as a housemaid at the home of a Water Development Board engineer in Dhaka, was tortured to death on Tuesday by the engineer's wife.
Jannati's father Janu Molla, finding it difficult to support his six-member family, sent her to the engineer's house at Dhaka's Mohammadpur area on a seven-year agreement settled for Tk1 lakh.
"But the engineer's wife would not let Jannati talk to us," said Janu Molla.
"Engineer's house! Very rich! I thought my daughter would be able to eat to her heart's content there. Moreover, they promised to marry off my daughter once she turns into a marriageable age," said Shamsun Nahar, mother of Jannati.
"These are the reasons I let my daughter go to work there as a housemaid. My daughter finally comes home, but in a lifeless body," said the sobbing mother.
As part of the deal, Jannati had been working for five years at the home of the engineer named Sayed Ahmed and his wife Rokhsana Parvin – but the victim's family alleged she had not been paid in all these years.
The family also alleged that Jannati was tortured regularly at the engineer's home. On October 22, Rokhsana beat her up as usual and went out after confining her in a bathroom.
But when she returned home several hours later, she found Jannati's motionless body lying on the floor when she opened the door of the bathroom. Jannati was taken to Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital where doctors declared her dead.
Rokhsana's neighbours said Jannati and two more children work in the house. As Jannati was older than the other two, she had to work more. But a small mistake on her part would result in merciless torture.
Mohammad Abdul Alim, the officer-in-charge (investigation) at Mohammadpur Police Station, told The Business Standard that the hospital informed police about Jannati's death on Tuesday night. In the hospital, police found numerous marks of injury on the victim's body, including on her forehead and nose.
The following day Jannati's father Janu Molla filed a murder case at the police station. Police then arrested Rokhsana who, on Friday, confessed to a Dhaka court that she killed Jannati, the investigating officer said.
The other accused, Rokhsana's husband Sayed Ahmed, has been absconding after the murder, Abdul Alim added.
Jannati's maternal uncle Monirul Islam informed The Business Standard over the phone that Jannati's father was an auto-rickshaw driver who could barely support his family. Jannati had to stop going to school because of financial constraints.
Later, a local broker convinced her parents to send her to the engineer's house in Dhaka for Tk1 lakh on a seven-year agreement. But the family did not get any money even after five years, Monir said.
Monir also said that on the day of the incident, the broker told Jannati's father Janu Molla that she was ill. On his way to Dhaka, Janu Molla learnt that Jannati had passed away.
Ariful Islam, another relative of Jannati, said that she was allowed to visit her parents only once a year.
Jannati was from Telihata village in Sukhanpukur under Gabtoli upazila in Bogura.
Meanwhile, villagers formed a human chain in the locality on Saturday afternoon demanding justice for Jannati.