Two sisters who had locked themselves up at their residence here for the past seven months and were living in inhuman conditions were rescued by the local police and a non-government organisation on Tuesday.

After being taken out of their “self-imposed confinement,” the sisters, in their 40s, were rushed to nearby Kailash Hospital where the condition of one of them was described as critical owing to severe malnutrition and dehydration.

The elder sister Anuradha, a qualified Chartered Accountant, and younger sister Sonali, are said to be suffering from severe depression after their father, an Army officer, passed away a few years ago. The sisters also have an estranged brother living separately in Delhi. He and his family reportedly had no contact with the sisters for the past four years. The death of the family's pet dog a few months ago is said to have aggravated their depression. The sisters had lost their mother much earlier.

Emotional trauma

Sarika Chandra of Kailash Hospital said: “The sisters came in an extremely emaciated condition. Anuradha is in a comatose condition and suffering from internal and oral bleeding. She also has mouth infections apart from being severely dehydrated and malnourished. She has been admitted to the ICU and is being attended to by a team of specialists. Sonali is a little better and responding. She is also very disoriented in terms of time and space. They have suffered intense emotional trauma and depression.”

Social activist Usha Thakur, who was part of the rescue team, said the colony guard was hostile when she attempted to reach the house. “The guard said the residents' welfare association had given him strict instructions to stay away from that house. I managed to climb onto the terrace and caught a glimpse of the younger sister. She was dressed in three layers of woollen clothing and hurled abuses and asked me to leave them alone. Thereafter, when the police and a magistrate arrived, we finally managed to force open the door. We were shocked to see the state the two women were in.”

The house reeked and the elder sister lay in a comatose position on the sofa, she said.