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13-yr-old help goes missing

Balurghat, July 31: A 13-year-old girl working as a domestic help in the house of a doctor in government service in Buniyadpur has gone missing since Monday.

Her parents, along with other relatives and neighbours, demonstrated in front of the doctor’s residence today.

The demonstration was withdrawn after officers from the Bangshihari police station arrived at the spot and assured the protesters that they would do all they could to locate the missing girl.

Namita Roy (name changed), a resident of the Hatpukur area of Buniyadpur, used to work in the house of Dr Tapas Kumar Saha, attached to the Rashidpur block primary health centre, for the past 14 months. She went out on Monday and has been missing since.

Namita’s father, Nabin, is ill and cannot work. Her mother, Jyotsna, works as a domestic help in several houses.

“We were forced to send our daughter to work at the doctor’s house to make ends meet. Now she has gone missing,” Jyotsna said. The mother added that they had searched high and low for the girl, even going to her friends’ and relatives’, but could not find any trace of her.

Jyotsna said the doctor had taken her husband to the Bangshihari police station late on Monday evening to lodge a missing person’s diary.

“Namita, besides working for me, also used to study at home. Although she did not go to school, I was teaching her in the evenings after I returned from work,” Saha, a bachelor, said. He added that the girl used stay with his widowed mother, brother and sister like a member of the family.

“On Monday afternoon, she said she was going to visit a relative for a short while and went out of the house and did not return. I waited till late in the evening before taking her father to the police station and making him file a missing person’s complaint,” the doctor said.

Nabin said he had signed on a piece of paper at the police station, but he was not aware of the contents of the complaint.

Nabin’s brother, Kshitish, a rickshaw-van driver, said the doctor could not shrug off responsibility.

“We had sent Namita to work in his house and she had been staying there for the past 14 months and coming home only occasionally. Her safety is the responsibility of the doctor. We want action to be taken against him,” Kshitish said.

Namita’s house is about a kilometre from where she worked.

The inspector-in-charge of the Bangshihari police station, Debashis Ghosh, said: “We have sent messages to all the police stations in the district and we, too, are on the lookout for her. We have not received any complaint against the physician.”

The doctor said he, too, was concerned about Namita. “I feel very bad about the entire thing. I am also trying my best to find out where she is,” Saha said.

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