The murder of a child in Nagaon on 22nd April has shocked the entire state and have raised questions on sections of the society who prefers to employ children as house-help.
On the afternoon of 22nd April, around 2 pm, the 12-year-old Somali Ronghangpi who had been working in the house of one Prakash Borthakur was burnt alive. Neighbours accused that when they saw her burning they tried to help her and even called for Borthakur’s family. However, the employers had locked themselves inside and would not come out.
Ronghangpi had been working as an domestic help in Borthakur’s house for the past five years. She was the daughter of Sarthe Ronghang and Basapi Kropi of Sar Kro Kudam Ronghang village, Duar Amla Constituency, West Karbi Anglong. The family has said that Borthakur had taken her in promising to give her education. They promised the poor family that their child will be treated as a daughter. Instead she was used as a maid and was not allowed to return home for the past four years.
She was murder after she insisted on going back home. Somali was also physically abused by Borthakur’s wife Rina and his son Nayanmani.
Although the employers claimed it to be a suicide initially, locals cried foul play. Prakash Borthakur, and his son have been arrested by Roha Police and are being investigated. Police informed media that kerosene was poured on the child and set ablaze. Match boxes and a kerosene container has been recovered by the police ner the charred body.
Director of General Police (DGP) Assam, Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta said, “When we received the information that suicide by self-immolation had taken place in Raha area, our team immediately rushed to the spot and recovered the body. However, after preliminary investigation, we suspect that it could be a murder case.”
The horrendous crime has raised several questions on families who have been keeping underaged children of underprivileged, especially tribal families of the hilly regions as domestic help. Many organizations of Karbi Anglong as well as from other parts of Assam have condemned the incident and have demanded high-level time-bound of the case.
On 25th April, people of Roha have come together to light candles to pray for the departed soul of Somali Ronghangpi and seek justice for her.