'They used to beat me with sticks': Maid agaist cricketer Shahadat

‘They used to beat me with sticks': Maid agaist cricketer Shahadat

maid happy in freedom

maid happy in freedom

By Sugam Pokharel, CNN
Dhaka (CNN) She’s known as “Happy” but when Mahfuza Akhter was found bruised and crying in the streets of Dhaka she was anything but.
The 11-year-old former live-in maid of one of Bangladesh’s cricketing heroes is at the center of perhaps the biggest celebrity trial the country has ever seen.
She claims that she was abused by international cricket star Shahadat Hossain and his wife, Nritto Shahadat, while working in their home.
“They used to beat me with sticks, kitchen utensils, punch me, and scratch me. I would be slapped a lot,” she says, pointing to a distinct scar on her face.
Hossain and his wife are both in police custody, charged with child repression and employing a minor. Hossain’s lawyer says he is innocent and that he wasn’t home the day Happy ran away.
The lawyer refused to comment on behalf of his wife but on December 1 Shahadat was granted temporary bail on humanitarian grounds as she has a young baby.
Shahadat Hossain and his wife, Nritto Shahadat, are escorted by security to court appearances in October.
Shahadat Hossain and his wife, Nritto Shahadat, are escorted by security to court appearances in October.
Happy’s story
The young maid says she was sent to work in the couple’s home by her grandmother. She doesn’t know where her parents are, but said her extended family needed the money.”My uncle had no job, my grandmother was sick, we didn’t have any money. There was no option but to send me to the house to work,” she told CNN.

She says she was locked in their home and forced to sleep in the bathroom. “They wouldn’t give me proper food. They’d usually give me leftovers or food that had gone bad,” she said.
She was looking for a chance to escape; she had made up her mind that she would rather beg on the streets than live in the home.
Happy says she decided to take a chance when the couple’s other servant opened the door. “When the house maid came inside the house, she opened the door. While the door was open, I ran out of the house.”
She says she couldn’t run very fast, and was limping.
“I was in a lot of pain. While I was walking on the road, people were staring at me. I covered my eye because it was bruised and it was hurting. At one point, I got exhausted and I sat down by the side of the road.”
It was local journalist Moammel Hossain, says he found her and took her to hospital, and Bangladesh police were alerted to her claims.
“The girl had substantial injuries — several parts of her body were dislocated, she had swollen eyes, and was bruised extensively,” Bangladesh Police Inspector General Nazrul Islam told CNN.
Police issued an appeal for Hossain and his wife after both fled their Dhaka home. Officers carried out raids at various locations, including Hossain’s ancestral village and his father-in-law’s residence.
Four weeks later, police arrested Hossain’s wife at her parent’s house in Dhaka, and the next day Hossain turned himself in. The couple soon appeared in court but were denied bail.
The allegations made against Hossain and his wife have shocked Bangladesh — especially the younger generation, many of whom consider him a hero.
The 29-year-old fast bowler made his debut for the national team in 2005, and has gone on to play in 36 Test matches and 51 One Day Internationals for his country.
He has taken more than 100 wickets across both versions of the game, and is the only Bangladeshi bowler to be listed on the Lord’s Honour’s Board — a respected achievement for a cricketer.
The Bangladesh Cricket Board has since suspended Hossain from all forms of cricket until further notice.
Back in the shelter, Happy says she had feared she’d be living in the house forever. She’s not angry with her grandmother, who suggested she take the job.
“I realized that my family needed money, and that I didn’t have a job to support them. So, I agreed to work by myself — nobody had to push me to even think about it.”
Asked what she wants to do when she grows up, she says with a smile, “I want to go to school, I want to go to college and then become an actress.” – CNN Report
Contributors note: CNN’s Roshni Majumdar contributed to this report


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