An emotional reunion for kids who escaped death with mother

Last Updated : 30 March 2020, 05:05 IST

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Tears welled up the eyes of three siblings after they saw their mother, who had tried to poison the whole family before escaping from their house in Hyderabad, after a gap of 26 years at a shelter home here.

The mother Neelamma, now in her early 60s, couldn’t recognize her children instantly as she is still recovering from mental illness.

“I have nothing to say except that the whole family is happy. We could bring our mom back home after 25 years. She has some health issues and I plan to take her to a doctor. For now, she is fine, and we are trying to make up for the lost time,” Santhosh Kumar, Neelamma’s elder son, told DH.

Neelamma was living with her husband Anjayya and her children Santhosh Kumar, Rajesh Khanna, Mayuri and Kavitha in Shadnagar on the outskirts of Hyderabad when she attempted to kill them using rat poison due to a family feud in 1994. Even as Neelamma left the house immediately after her action, the entire family survived – the father passed away in 2017.

After getting a phone call from NGO, Little Hearts Society, in whose home the woman was staying for the past one year, Santhosh Kumar, Rajesh Khanna and Kavitha rushed to Chennai to meet their mother.

Neelamma had behavioral issues when she was brought to the shelter for women run by the NGO in Injambakkam on the outskirts of Chennai in 2019 but continuous treatment and regular visits to therapists helped her regained some memory about her past.

“When we began talking to her in the hope of reuniting her with the family, the woman told us that her husband used to run Bhavani Photo Frame shop in Shadnagar in Hyderabad. That is all she remembered. With that clue, Neelamma’s family was traced by the State Crime Records Bureau (SCRB) with help from local police,” Rita Iyyappan of the NGO told DH.

Neither Neelamma nor her children had thought they would have a reunion. While the woman thought her family was wiped out, her children, who survived, were of the thinking that their mother was long dead.

Santhosh Kumar couldn’t believe his ears when the NGO told him his mother was in their shelter and that he can come to take her back.

“First she didn’t recognize her children and refused to go with them. Later her children showed several pictures taken when the family was together and happy. Slowly the woman regained memory and finally agreed to go with her children. It was truly an emotional reunion,” A S Thahira, Inspector with the State Crime Records Bureau (SCRB), told DH.

The SCRB, which has a dedicated officer for the purpose in Thahira, has so far reunited 250 families. Thahira said it wasn’t known when and how Neelamma came to Chennai and why she left Hyderabad. “Since the woman isn’t mentally sound, we didn’t probe her any further. With the limited information she gave, we found her family and reunited her with them,” Thahira said.

The siblings stayed here for a day and convinced Neelamma to come with them. “They came here on Monday and left Chennai on Tuesday night. Neelamma was happy when she left,” Rita Iyyappan added.

Published 19 March 2020, 13:00 IST

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