The BJP today suspended its Jharkhand leader Seema Patra amid allegations that she confined her household help and brutally tortured her.
Ms Patra was a member of the national working committee of the BJP’s women wing. Her husband, Maheshwar Patra, is a retired IAS officer.
Jharkhand BJP chief Deepak Prakash ordered the action against Ms Patra after videos of her domestic help accusing her of torture went viral.
In the horrifying videos, the woman, Sunita, is seen on a hospital bed. Several of her teeth are seen missing, and she is incapable of sitting up. The injury marks on her body point to repeated instances of assault, local media reports said.
The visuals have evoked strong reactions, with many calling for Ms Patra’s immediate arrest.
Sunita, now 29, is from Gumla in Jharkhand and was employed by the Patras about 10 years ago. Their daughter Vatsala was moving to Delhi for work and Sunita went along as her help. About four years ago, Vatsala and Sunita returned to Ranchi.
Over the next six years, the woman has alleged, she was subjected to brutal torture by Ms Patra. Speaking through immense pain, Sunita recalls in the videos that she was beaten up with a hot tawa and rods, and her teeth smashed out. She was also made to lick urine off the floor.
Sunita said the torture was meted out to her as a “punishment” but she did not know what her mistakes were.
The woman says Ms Patra’s son Ayushman had helped her. “It is only because of him that I am alive,” she says, her voice choking in pain and tears.
The woman’s sister and brother-in-law had been reportedly informed of her suffering, but they refused to take her in.
At a heart-rending point in one of the videos, Sunita says that she wants to study further when she gets better.
According to reports, it was Ayushman who narrated Sunita’s situation to a friend and asked him for help. His friend then registered a police complaint, following which Sunita was rescued. She is now undergoing treatment at RIMS in Ranchi.
Police are expected to record her statement soon, following which they may move to arrest Ms Patra.