HYDERABAD: Nearly 10 years after she left their village in Bihar, Subodh Rai is happy to take his sister home. Meena (name changed), who was found chained nearly 10 days ago in Aram Ghar, a home run by the Indian Council of Social Welfare registered in 1964, will be going back to her family. Subodh, who arrived in Hyderabad last week, met the media persons along with his sister and officials.
Meena was reluctant to speak to the media but was visibly enthusiastic and expressed her desire to go home. “I am glad that we could finally trace her whereabouts. I was only a child when she left and was unaware of what was happening at the time,” Subodh said.
The reunion was facilitated by the Ranga Reddy District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) which had written to the Bihar State Legal Services Authority (BSLSA) after Meena was moved out of Aram Ghar. The BSLSA conducted an inquiry that resulted in Rai, an agricultural labourer, arriving in Hyderabad.
“After she left, we have tried to find her in and around the village. After that our father passed away and my mother wasn’t prepared to lodge a missing person’s complaint. I was too young and we left it at that,” Rai said.
T Subhashini, panel advocate of the RR DLSA and R Sathyavati, woman ASI had spoken to Meena and her brother to make sure their information was correct. “All the facts have been tallied and the information we received is all true. The process to send her back home will begin once the RR DLSA sends the order to the BSLSA. We are also making a recommendation that she be trained in certain skills,” said Subhashini. Medically, her condition has improved too, Subhashini added.
Initially, Meena was prescribed a course of medication for 15 days.
“Ten days later, the doctor certified that she has no psychiatric illness and she was under trauma triggered
by abuse in her marriage that led her to leave her home,” she said.
Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust (KGNMT) state head V Padmavathi said that Meena would be taken to Institute of Mental Health. “I will take her to IMH for a second opinion, because she is not fully out of her trauma. If we integrate her before recovery, she might be back to the same state,” she said.
She was relocated to KGNMT three days after she was discovered in that condition. The lone care taker at the home claimed that he chained Meena as she was violent and abusive and would often strip off her clothes. “Her behaviour created fear among the rest of the inmates and hence we had to chain her for a few hours to calm her down. On the day when she was discovered by the media, she attacked the cook with a steel plate. This was the reason why we have chained her,” explained the caretaker, who is responsible for the well being of at least 50 other women in the home.
The home houses persons with physical and mental disabilities along with many elderly people. Most of the disabled destitutes in the home are dropped off by the local police who consider it ‘reputed’. While certain sources informed that she was in an abusive marriage, Meena hasn’t revealed anything