As soon as the news broke that the Maharastra Government had filed a case against me for abusing child labour laws-after i had got over my shock and vehemently denied it and when i had calmed down- I requested a meeting with the State Labour Minister Nawab Mallik. Obviously. This wasnt some cheap affair or filmy scandal that i was embroiled in-The State Government accusing me of commiting a legal offense was a very serious thing for me. No way was i going to allow something like this to happen. No way.
My lawyers were ready with the paperwork for a defamation suit but recommended that i try to talk it out instead-because frankly this was not a legal matter. It happened because a minister made a false accusation at me on the basis of wrong information provided to him by an NGO. There is and never was a legal case against me and I am glad i didnt have to take any legal action.
So i met the Labour Minister Nawab Mallik, and Labour secretary Kavita Gupta at 3 pm at Mantralaya yesterday.While i had informed a few of my friends in the media about it-i was surprised and overwhelmed at the sheer number that turned up. Thank you guys! I could not have done this without you…:-) Though i am still wondering why the fact that i was accused made front page and breaking news -big photograph and all, and the fact that a day later the labour minister gave me a clean chit saying i was wrongly accused hardly gets a mention-definitely no photograph. Awwww come on guys-not fair
Anyway The Labour Minister admitted that I had been falsely accused on the basis of wrong information provided by the NGO!!!
The guy from the NGO ( Balpraful)claimed that he had lost the case papers!!, and FIR (spoilt by rain water!!!) so was unable to furnish any further information or evidence.He also claimed that he was not personally there when the case was filed but his co-workers were!! He also said that the case was not against me but against my mother Dr Sulochana Krishnamoorthi. “so how did my name come into it?” i asked. He scratched his hair and coughed and mutterred something wishy washy
So let me explain how all this happened. The fact is that it was a matter an NGO had taken up with my mother Dr Sulochana Krishnamoorthi in May 2007 regarding a 13 year old-who my mother had taken under her care on the request of another maid whose employer was refusing to keep the young girl at home. So the maid had requested my mom to let the 13 year old girl stay at my parents home in Veera Desai road for a few days till she could organize her ticket back to the village and arrange for somebody to accompany her back. The girl stayed in my parents home for exactly four days. My parents were actually in the process of moving homes-relocating to Bangalore at that time and it was actually very inconvenient for them but my mothers intentions were to protect the child –
so much so that when the NGO and police came knocking on her door she refused to hand over the child to anyone except her aunt-saying that the girl was her responsibilty and she didnt want a young girl to have to spend time alone in a police station or public place.That is what had happened and it was two and a half years ago in May 2007
The NGO subsequently closed the case in a week or ten days when they realized my mothers intentions and on the insistense of the young girls aunt who had requested my mother to keep the girl at her home. So curently there is no case pending against my mother either. The charges were dropped
The complaint was lodged in the first place by my moms maalishwali! So you can imagine how ridiculous and sad this whole thing is
I didnt even now about this incident till 2 days ago when the scandal broke when my mom called me and told me about it-explaining that it was probably the reason why I am being accused. I dont blame my parents for not telling me-they are regular middle class folk. A police complaint against them must have been emabarrasing as hell-especially because exactly the opposite of what they had intended happened. Also i was in Sri Lanka on holiday at that time trying to get over the trauma of my divorce and all the public scandal accompying that. It was a distressing period in my life and they didnt want to add to my woes
My mother is a doctrate in history and a professor-her main subject being
womens education in India. She is well known for her charitable acts
towards the poor and underpriveleged. Infact she is one of those
ladies who used to call the poor kids from the neighbourhood once a
month and feed them and give them english lessons. Her intentions in
taking the girl into her home were to give her shelter till she was
sent back to her village safely and nothing else and thats what she
did. By virtue of being her daughter my name has got dragged into it
Anyway coming back to the matter of me being falsely accused in this case
Isnt it the duty of Government officials to scrutinize documents and ascertain facts before hurling such serious accusations? Is there no accountabilty? No sense of responsiilty? No system in place? I was told during my visit to the Mantralaya that thanks to me the labour department is getting so much attention from the media!! He asked me who my PR agency is!! I told him I didnt have one.
Would they rather not try to grab eyeballs by doing some good work like providing food shelter and educaion to the poor kids instead?
Ok so the labour law says children below 14 cannot work-so can you please provide a dignified alternative to these kids-most of whom run away from the very homes you claim your task force is sending them back to.
And why are they running away from their own homes? Abject poverty? Or is the violence in their own parental homes worse than what they have to put up with at the hands of strangers who give them a warm bed and food to eat?
Why are parents pawning their own children?
What kind of a world are we living in?
Where does one draw the line between showing compassion and being afraid of the law?
Like in the case of my parents-is one supposed to let a girl roam the streets leaving her as vulnerable prey because of fear of being arrested or is it better to bring her home? Like do you leave a bleeding victim to die on the road because you will take the wrap for it or do you take hime to hospital and get him medical attention?
Its all very well to appoint a task force and pull the bad guys out-like they rightly did in the Urvashi Dhanorkar case…but do these task force guys have the maturity and intelligence to understand intention and separate the good guys from the bad guys?
I dont know why i was drageed into this matter but its okay. If its for a larger good. Its the price of being a known face-though the Minister also claimed that he didnt know who Suchitra Krishnamoorthi was or what i did before he wrongly accused me on national TV “i know Kavita Krishnamoorthi the singer-are you her sister?
He also claimed jokingly that he had been receiving threatening calls in his office to withdraw my name from those accused in the child labour abuse case ever since the news appeared
“i didnt know you had so many fans and admirers who are so upset over this matter and so protective about you” he laughed. Some others present laughed too.
Hey, you know what- THIS AINT FUNNY AT ALL!