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'How can I be cruel to my own daughter?'

Published: 06th June 2013 11:20 AM  |   Last Updated: 06th June 2013 11:20 AM   |  A+A-

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Amrita (name changed), 35, was found under unhygienic and squalid conditions at her Malleswaram residence. Some of her neighbours and relatives had accused her family of forcibly confining her in a room for four years. But the woman’s father, who is approaching his 70s, rubbished all such allegations.

“Keeping her locked at home was cruel and unimaginable. How can I do something like that to my own daughter?” he said while explaining the condition that led to police intervention into what he claimed to be essentially a family matter.

Amrita was shifted by police and health officials to NIMHANS from her Malleswaram home on Tuesday afternoon after neighours heard her cries of distress.

Speaking to Express outside her ward at NIMHANS on Wednesday, her teary-eyed father said that she was leading a normal life until four years ago when depression set in as she could not find a suitable match to marry. He feared that she may never be able to lead a normal life again. “With the media flashing her pictures all over, I fear if she will be able to lead a normal life again”, he said.

Express has chosen not to reveal the girl’s name in order to protect her identity.

He said that Amrita had a deep desire to lead a married life and that five alliances had come her way. “There were families who approached us for her hand. But I did not approve of them as they were not educationally and financially suitable for my daughter. This upset her a lot,” the father said.

Around the same time, Amrita also contracted chikungunya and this delayed things further, he said. “Amrita was stubborn and would not eat properly. Even feeding medicines was a mammoth task,” he said, while adding that severe bedsores had caused her to scream and that made the neighbours suspicious. “She developed bad bedsores on the left side of her body. After that, she could not turn over to the other side and we had to assist her and she would create a lot of noise while turning due to the pain,” he said.

Dismissing allegations that she was forcibly held inside the house, he said, “If I was so inconsiderate about her sufferings, why would I run around getting her treated at Kempegowda Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS) and St Theresa Hospital? Doctors at NIMHANS also have diagnosed her with joint problems. It was so serious that she could not even get up and sit to eat food,” he claimed.

He, his wife and sons would also feed her with their hands as her joint pain did not allow her to eat by herself. “This way, she would refuse to eat most of the time and that is why she is in such poor health. She would not let us cut her nails as she felt we were inflicting pain on her,” he said. He further suspected the involvement of his older brother in falsely accusing him of holding his daughter in confinement. “Some men known to my older brother had been creating problems for my family for a very long time. They would unnecessarily quarrel with us over petty issues and did not give us any privacy, considering my daughter had a serious health condition,” he said.

Dr V L Satish, Medical Superintendent of the hospital, said Amrita was severely malnourished, anaemic and also suffered from arthritis. “She cannot be questioned about her life over the past four years as her condition is still not fully alright. We have to help her regain her health before getting into the case history,” he said. As her personal hygiene conditions were very poor, caregivers had cut her hair, nails and also given her a bath.

‘Enquiries Under way’

DCP (West) S N Siddramappa said that enquiries are under way. Meanwhile, officials from the State Human Rights Commission visited Amrita on Wednesday. Sunil Agarwal, Inspector General of Police, SHRC said the woman was still not stable enough to record her statement. “ Prima facie, it is a clear violation of human rights,” he said. The commission may entrust her care to the government.

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