She would keep crying for food at night, claims cousin

Kin, neighbours say Hemavathi's family was indifferent to her plight

She would keep crying for  food at night, claims cousin

It remains a mystery why 35-year-old Hemavathi was confined to her house since 2003. But one of the woman’s classmates claimed that her father was “directly responsible” for her pathetic condition.

Hemavathi’s classmate, Uma, remembered her as a bright student who had a flair for mathematics. She graduated in commerce in 1996 and aspired to become a chartered accountant (CA). She even began working at a CA firm nearby. What happened to her thereafter remained a mystery, Uma said. “Then began her descent into mental and physical decay. I’m really sad to see her in this condition,” Uma rued.

Eldest of three children of Renukappa and Puttagowramma, Hemavathi’s younger brothers are Somashekhar, 34, and Balachandra, 32. She studied pre-university course at MES College before enrolling for BCom at MLA College, Malleswaram 14th Cross.

Neighbours said that Hemavathi was courting a young man, but her family opposed the alliance and confined her to the house. Uma denied it, but hastened to add that Hemavathi’s father had rejected all proposals of her marriage, leaving her depressed.
‘Finally free’

Alleged negligence and apathy on the part of her family made matters worse. “I’m really happy that she is free now. I hope she never goes back to her family,” Uma said.

Hemavathi’s cousin, Shivamurthy, claimed that his family would hear her cries at night. “Sometimes she would cry for food. In the last five years, an ambulance would occasionally take her to the hospital and come back,” he told Deccan Herald.

Shivamurthy’s father Mruthyunjayappa is the brother of Renukappa. The brothers lived as a joint family at their ancestral house decades ago. But differences between them led to partition of the family property. While Mruthyunjayappa later built a three-storey building on his portion of the land, Renukappa and his family lived in a dilapidated house just next to it. The two families had strained relations and were not even on speaking terms.

Shivamurthy recalled that he last spoke to his uncle way back in 1984. Renukappa did not allow his brother’s family to “meddle” in his affairs, Shivamurthy said. “We couldn’t know what was happening in our own backyard.”

Renukappa’s financial condition is not poor. He is said to have rented three buildings at Mahalakshmi Layout, Subramanya Nagar and Matthikere and two plots near Kanteerava Studio. He reportedly earns nearly Rs one lakh every month but his house is in poor condition.

Hemavathi’s family has a history of mental illness, relatives and neighbours claimed.
While Hemavathi’s condition was not known, Puttagowramma and Somashekhar were reportedly mentally unstable. “Puttagowramma would often speak to herself,” Seema, a neighbour, said.

Somashekhar would often pick fights with people, neighbours claimed. Single and unemployed, Somashekhar could not speak coherently when this newspaper tried to talk to him. Balachandra is a chronic alcoholic, relatives said.

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