In a bizarre incident, a brother and sister duo, who locked themselves up in their home for several weeks after being struck by a series of family tragedies, were rescued by social workers and the Bihar police here on Monday night in a state of acute depression and severe malnutrition. Babu (32) and his sister Sujata (28), who once worked as a journalist with a local daily, were rescued by an NGO Prayas with the help of the Patna police.

Ms. Sujata, who was discovered in a state of acute depression, was admitted to a mental health hospital, while Mr. Babu was taken to the Patna Medical College and Hospital for further treatment.

The case is eerily similar to the Noida incident last month involving the rescue of two sisters who had closeted themselves without food and water for over six months.

According to the police, Mr. Babu and Ms. Sujata were in a state of extreme malnourishment when they were finally discovered lying with their hands tied at their residence in Shivpuri here.

Senior Superintendent of Police Alok Kumar said the incident was the first case of its kind in Patna.

Suman Lal, who heads the NGO Prayas and was instrumental in calling attention to the siblings' death-like condition, said Mr. Babu and Ms. Sujata went into a self-imposed isolation after a series of family tragedies.

Their father, Braj Kishore Singh, said to be an additional district magistrate, deserted the family two decades ago. Their mother disappeared a few years ago and was never traced, and this was followed by the death of the siblings' younger brother, two years ago.

Mr. Babu and Ms. Sujata have since gone without food and water for weeks and have been surviving on biscuits and snacks provided by neighbours, Mr. Kumar said.

Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi has directed officials to take proper care of the siblings and ordered a probe.