Family denies wrongdoing, says she has mental and physical health issues
Police rescued a woman, allegedly kept in captivity by her parents at their home in Malleswaram for at least four years, after neighbours tipped them off on Tuesday morning.
Police and health officials were shocked to find the woman, in her early 30s, lying in distressingly unhygienic conditions — forced to relieve herself in the very room she lay. Hemavathi’s hair was unkempt, her finger and toenails had not been clipped for long, and she didn’t have any clothes on. She had covered herself with just a long piece of cloth. She could neither fold her legs properly nor walk when they found her.
A police official, who visited the house, said the woman was initially incoherent and not able to answer questions. But, she managed to communicate to them that she was weak and needed treatment. “I am hungry. I am tired. I cannot speak properly right now,” she told reporters after her rescue.
The rescue operation was set in motion after neighbours claimed they heard screams from the house and called the police on Monday afternoon. Deputy Commissioner of Police (North) S.N. Siddaramappa said when police made inquiries later that evening, Ms. Hemavathi had told them she occasionally screamed as she was not keeping well. Her family had claimed that she was being provided with treatment, he added.
However, the buzz about the confinement persisted and police went again on Tuesday morning.
Health Minister U.T. Khader, who visited the house, advised that Ms. Hemavathi be shifted to the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (Nimhans) for treatment. Her parents Renukappa and Puttagowramma too accompanied her to the hospital.
Neighbours said Ms. Hemavathi, a commerce graduate, had been employed as an accountant earlier. When media landed in the house, Mr. Renukappa said his daughter suffered from arthritis and they had taken her to various hospitals. Police said the father denied any forceful confinement but said his daughter had been “psychologically affected and bedridden” for about four to five years now.
Doctors at Nimhans have, however, ruled out any acute medical, neurological or psychiatric problem in her.
Malleswaram police have not yet registered a case as there has been no complaint.