16-yr-old domestic worker's death in Hyd: Police trying to 'settle' case, family alleges

Aparna's family says that she had told her mother that she was desperate to leave her job a few hours before she died.
16-year-old Hyderabad domestic worker
16-year-old Hyderabad domestic worker
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It's been 24 days since 16-year-old Aparna, a domestic worker in Hyderabad, passed away under mysterious circumstances at her employer's home. However, the police are yet to obtain even the preliminary postmortem report in the case. The family of the girl is still unsure about the circumstances surrounding her death and has alleged that the police under the Cyberabad commissionerate is attempting to play mediator between them and the accused, urging the family to “settle” the case.

On Tuesday, Aparna’s family visited the Bachupally police station to obtain the preliminary postmortem report, but were allegedly told that the police haven’t received the report yet.

“The police told us that the preliminary report and the final postmortem report could take up to three months,” said Veerababu, Aparna’s maternal uncle who had accompanied her mother, B Arjamma, to the police station.

Aparna had been employed as a full-time domestic worker in Hyderabad since 2017, when she was 13 years old. Arjamma last spoke to Aparna on June 1 around 8:35 am, and her daughter reportedly told her that she was desperate to leave her job in the house where she was working. At around 10: 30 am, Aparna was reportedly found unconscious and was rushed to a private hospital where she was declared dead.

According to Aparna's family, different members of the employer's family gave varying accounts about the circumstances in which Aparna's body was found.

“At first, when Madam called us (the day Aparna died), she told us that Aparna had gone upstairs to hang the clothes for drying and had collapsed. Then, Madam's brother and husband said that she had collapsed in her room. Later, Madam told us that she had collapsed in the bathroom. At that time itself, we found it suspicious that they told us three different things,” said Veerbabu. “At that time, they didn't mention anything about poison. Only later, when the police entered the picture, they mentioned poison."

The Bachupally police had earlier told TNM that they had found a pesticide bottle in Aparna's room. “Her body was found in one of the rooms on the first floor,” said Jagadeeshwar, the Station House Officer. “When the employers came upstairs past 10: 30 am, they found her body. We suspect that she fell unconscious between 8:30 am and 10:30 am. The pesticide bottle was found inside the room,” he claimed.

However, Aparna's family says that they have lost their trust in the police after the latter allegedly tried to negotiate between the two families.

According to multiple sources, the Bachupally police held a closed-door meeting between the two families on Tuesday at the police station.

“The police are suggesting that we should just come to a compromise with Aparna's employers. They kept suggesting that we should talk to them and try to sort out the matter,” said Veerababu to TNM.

The Bachupally police reportedly also told the family that Aparna, who did not have her own phone, often used her employer’s phone to contact a boy in East Godavari. However, when the family asked for call recordings, the police allegedly told them that retrieving the call records was not possible.

Speaking to TNM, Bachupally police station house inspector Jawahar said that allegations of the police trying to mediate were unfounded.

“It’s still not confirmed if this is a murder or suicide. The postmortem reports take one month to come normally, and this is a suspected poison case, so the viscera had to be examined and compared with other poisons. It could therefore take three months,” the officer claimed.

(With inputs from Jhanavi Reddy)

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