Mentally-ill girl in chains for 17 years

Mentally-ill girl in chains for 17 years

Basanti, 20, a resident of Mandar village in the district, over 400 km from Jaipur, developed the illness in childhood when she suffered a mental trauma after she heard and saw lightening in the sky and since then she has been kept under restraint.

Shanti Devi, distraught mother of Basanti, told IANS that she did not move for months after the shock and when she came out of the near-coma situation, she kept shouting and throwing things at people.

"She doesn't sleep for many nights and keeps us awake as well by shouting. The neighbours keep complaining about her. So we decided to keep her in iron chains," said Shanti Devi.

The real trouble for the family began when Basanti's father died after a prolonged illness two-and-a-half years ago.

"Whatever money we had was spent to keep her father Kishanram alive. Now, we are completely bankrupt. I had to send my 12-year-old son to Pune in Maharashtra for work.

He was dropped out of school after Class 6," Shanti Devi said.

"After the savings dried up in my husband's treatment, I cannot even think of getting cure for Basanti. My earnings by working as domestic help at households are not enough even for our survival, leave aside treatment," she added.

Shanti Devi said she has four daughters, of them, Basanti is youngest. "The other three have been married, but no future is in sight for Basanti," she said.

She added that they have failed to get any assistance from the government so far.

"I have approached many administration officials, but nobody has so far come forward for help. I get assurances only. I have requested for a handicap certificate so that we can avail financial help, but that too has been denied," Shanti Devi said.