Bahrain: Claims of child abuse against a father have been denied by the family, while his daughter confessed that she had “made up” the whole story to return to her mother in India.
Ewani Swapnesh, aged 13, earlier told the GDN that she faced sexual abuse from her father Swapnesh Sugathan but confessed yesterday that it was all a “lie”.
Ewani along with her nine-year-old brother Ewalon, former students of the Indian School Bahrain, were repatriated on Monday night by the Indian Embassy, which took them into its custody after a report appeared in an English daily newspaper (not the GDN) that the parents had abandoned them in a flat without proper food or care.
The reports also alleged that the children were seen looking for food in a garbage bin near their flat in Salmaniya.
The family dismissed all the accusations yesterday.
Indian Embassy first secretary Ram Singh said that the children were taken into embassy’s custody on Sunday after the case was brought to its notice.
“We met the father who, we understand, is under a travel ban.
“His sponsor handed the children’s passports to us and we ensured that they reached their mother.
“We do not have any claims from the family against Mr Sugathan and the embassy’s scope was limited to helping the children, who lacked legal residency and wished to go back home to their mother.”
Ewani denied they were locked up and left without food.
“I said all that (about the sexual abuse) to get back to my mother.”
Her mother Siji Swapnesh confirmed Ewani’s claim, while expressing shock.
“I spoke to her (Ewani) and she said she had made up the story first and later added to it after her friend’s mother tried to dig for details and specifics.
“I am shocked at how she (Ewani) could say such things about her father as I know my husband is not that kind of a person.
“When I asked her again, she said she was feeling helpless about what was said which she realises cannot be undone.”
Mr Sugathan also expressed his despair, saying that he does not know why things had taken such a turn.
“I agree, I drink and smoke and spend most of the day in my garage and get home late.
“But it is not true that I did not take care of my children. They had food and they were not locked up.
“Nobody asked my side of the story, including the media, social workers or well-wishers, other than the embassy and now the GDN.
“I have explained my situation to the embassy. I am in a financial mess, I am under a travel ban and my business partners cheated me and fled to India.
“There are people who still owe me money in Bahrain, but I don’t have proof.
“I share my accommodation with people who are working in the CID – you can ask them how I took care of my children.
“I could not pay my children’s fees and they could not resume school, which is the only allegation that is true.”
A voice note on WhatsApp, which spread on social media since Thursday by Ewani’s friend’s father, said that the children were locked up, without food and were seen picking food from a garbage bin.
However, Ewani told the GDN on Thursday that this was not true.
“We had food, but my father did not cook anything. I had to cook.
“We were not locked up, but we felt lonely in the flat throughout the day as my father was away from 7am until midnight.
“Only men lived in the flat and I was not comfortable, but we never picked food from the garbage bin.
“Once my brother picked a toy which was lying next to the bin but we never went looking for food in the bin.”