MOM BURNS GIRL ON HOT TAWAH
By Nalinee Seelal Friday, June 22 2012
A Longdenville mother is in police custody after she punished her eight-year-old daughter by burning the child’s left hand on a hot tawah.
A Tawah is a flat circular iron plate used for baking and frying.
The girl has been warded at the children’s hospital of the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex (EWMSC), Mt Hope for treatment for severe burns to her left hand.
Police officers interviewed the 29-year-old mother yesterday and charges are expected to be laid.
According to reports, on June 14, the girl, a Standard Two student of Vedic school in central Trinidad, was given $5 by her mother to purchase exam papers for the National Test.
The girl loaned the money to a classmate who promised to repay her the next day. When the girl asked her classmate for the money she refused prompting the girl to report the matter to her teacher.
Newsday understands the teacher advised the girl to ask her classmate for the money one more time and when she did the classmate again refused.
Police officers were told the girl went into her classmate’s bag and retrieved $5, prompting the classmate to report the matter to the principal. The principal called in the mother of the eight- year-old girl and she was warned about her actions.
According to reports, the girl’s mother took her to their home in Longdenville and told the child to take a bath. During this time, the girl’s mother went into the kitchen and placed a tawah on the stove to allow it to get hot.
After the girl got dressed, her mother forced her into the kitchen and held the child’s left hand down on the hot tawah, causing her to scream in pain. When the girl pulled away, her mother placed her hand over the open fire, after moving the tawah.
Newsday understands the girl’s mother made no attempt to seek medical attention for the child and kept her from school for the past week. A relative who realised the girl was not being sent to school alerted her father, who lives in Chase Village, Chaguanas, and this past Wednesday, he went to Longdenville where he found his daughter grimacing in pain. She told him what her mother did to her. The enraged father took the girl to the Chaguanas Health Centre and doctors there called in the Chaguanas police.
Doctors advised the girl be taken to the EWMSC after they determined her left hand was severely infected and needed urgent treatment. The girl remained warded at Surgical Ward 1 of the children’s hospital, at the EWMSC, yesterday, where she is recovering from third degree burns to her left hand. Sgt Susan John interviewed the child at the hospital.
John led a party of officers to Longdenville yesterday where they detained the girl’s mother and took her to the Chaguanas police station for questioning.
The woman admitted to burning her daughter but said she did it because the girl was “too harden” and needed to be taught a lesson. She expressed no remorse for her actions and told officers she was not sorry for what she had done.
Newsday understands the woman has two other children from a previous relationship and admitted to police she was having domestic problems, telling them she was stressed out. Police were yesterday awaiting reports from doctors before charges are laid.
The girl’s father told Newsday he was advised by doctors to meet with social workers to arrange to have his daughter placed in his custody.
He said he was saddened by what his daughter suffered, but vowed to protect her.
He said four years ago, he and the girl’s mother broke up after a mutual understanding. His daughter told him she had been punished before by her mother who would not allow her to watch television. He said he was surprised by her mother’s cruel actions in this recent incident.
“I will do my best to ensure my daughter never endures any cruelty ever again in her young life, and I will be taking charge of my child from now on,” the father said.
He said he was expecting his daughter to be discharged from hospital late yesterday, and was making arrangements to accommodate her at his home.
Officials of the Vedic school which the girl attends described her as respectful, intelligent and loved by her teachers. Teachers expressed surprise at the incident and said they had found it strange that the girl was not at school for the week.