A shocking video that has now gone viral depicts the hazards working parents deal with by trusting their children with neighbourhood day care facilities that have mushroomed across Indian cities, a 10-month-old girl in Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, has suffered a fracture in her skull after she was beaten up and kicked ruthlessly by a 30-year-old maid at the private crèche where her parents had left her.
The whole incident was captured on CCTV camera. The maid and the owner of the day care centre have been arrested by the Kharghar police and the incident is being probed by authorities, police said today. The owner of the crèche was later let off after a surety.
Taking cognisance of the matter after the video went viral, Maharashtra's Women and Child Development minister Pankaja Munde said they have decided on compulsory installation of CCTVs at such centres.
The incident came to light when the CCTV footage of Purva Play School and Creche, a day care centre for children at Kharghar in Navi Mumbai, was analysed by the police and the infant's parents.
Subsequently, Kharghar Police yesterday arrested Afsana Sheikh and the day care centre's owner Priyanka Nikam (34). However, Nikam was later released on surety bail while Sheikh has been remanded in police custody.
The 10-month-old girl's parents Ruchita and Rajat Sinha, who are complainants in the case, used to leave their child at the day care centre as they both are working.
On Tuesday, when they went to take her, they found a wound on their daughter's forehead.
Ruchita asked creche owner Nikam about it, but she did not get a proper response from the day care centre. When the baby's parents approached a doctor, he suspected it to be a case of child abuse.
Subsequently, the child's parents went to Kharghar Police Station and lodged a complaint.
The police and the child's parents were shocked when they later saw the CCTV footage of creche which showed Sheikh beating and slapping children who were left by their parents at the day care centre.
The CCTV footage also showed Sheikh beating Ruchita's daughter while some other infants were sleeping, police said. In the video, Sheikh is seen hitting, throwing and kicking the child.
Police registered an offence against Sheikh and Nikam under section 325 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt) of IPC and section 23 of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act-2000, police official said.
The child is being treated at a private hospital for the injuries inflicted on her. Trouble mounted for the child when she became feverish and was rushed back to the hospital.
“We took her back to the doctor and a CT scan revealed that she has a small fracture at the back of her skull, which led to internal bleeding. She is now under observation for two days at the Fortis Hospital in Vashi,” her father, Rajat Sinha, told Mid Day.
Senior paediatric consultant Dr Ashok Gawdi, who is treating the child, told Mid-Day, “When the patient was first brought to me, I suspected that there had been a physical assault, so I categorically informed parents not to send her to the day care centre and to inquire into the matter. Though the child is medically stable now, she is extremely scared.”
The video of the alleged incident has gone viral on social media, prompting the authorities to announce installation of CCTVs at such centres.
Minister Pankaja Munde termed the incident as shocking. "We have decided to make it compulsory to install CCTVs at play schools, to avoid recurrence of such incidents," she said.
(With agency inputs)