Family keeps mentally ill woman in chains

Ramshri Devi is sometimes tied to a tree and sometimes confined to a room with her legs tied to the bed.

Karauli: Unable to pay for her treatment and with no assistance from the government, the family of a 65-year-old mentally ill woman in Rajasthan`s Karauli district has kept her chained for more than seven years now.

Ramshri Devi is a resident of Khohara Ghusethi village near Hindon town in the district, over 200 km from Jaipur. She is sometimes tied to a tree and sometimes confined to a room with her legs tied to the bed.

"We started to keep her in chains after she developed some mental illness seven years ago and became violent and hysterical. She started throwing stones at neighbours. It became the cause of frequent quarrels with other villagers, so we were compelled to keep her tied to the tree," Ramshri`s son Megh Singh told the media.

Megh Singh, who also has a brother, Lokesh Singh, said since she developed the illness, all their savings have been spent on her treatment.

"We even sold our ancestral farming land to pay for the treatment. But it seems in this small place, there is no hospital capable of treating my mother. And we don`t have enough money to take her to big cities," said Megh Singh.

When she becomes hysterical, the family members give her sleeping pills to calm her down.

Megh Singh said recently a fire took place in the house and the family members could not find the keys to open the lock on the chain used to tie Ramshri.

"We had to use an axe to save her life. It might seem brutal to keep her chained, but we have no option," said Megh Singh.

He said efforts to get help from the government for Ramshri`s treatment were of no avail. "I took her to every administration officer in the area for help, but nothing has been done," he said.


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