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In Odisha, girl regains memory after three years

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16-year-old recollects her origins in Bihar, says she was a victim of child marriage

Like what happens in Bollywood movies, a 16 year-old-girl suffering from amnesia rescued in Odisha’s Koraput district in 2016 has regained memory to remember her origin in Bihar and pathetic past life as a victim of child marriage.

In August 2016, she was located on the streets of Ralagada, under the Pottangi police station limits of Koraput district by volunteers of Childline and police personnel. At that time she was around 13 years old and was unable to say anything about her identity and family. Police had handed her over to Koraput Child Welfare Committee (CWC) for rehabilitation. This minor girl was rehabilitated at a shelter home run by Missionaries of Charity in Koraput. According to chairperson of CWC, Gayatri Devi, efforts were made to treat her mental ailment with help of a psychiatrist. The treatment and proper care at the shelter home brought about miraculous results in February this year.

The girl suddenly regained memory and spoke about her family and place of origin to the sisters of Missionaries of Charity, who were taking care of her. She had a pathetic story to tell that described the vagaries of child marriages still continuing in rural areas of the country.

“As per information provided by her, she is from Koura village under Jagdishpur police station in Bhojpur district of Bihar. She had been married off at an extreme tender age and had also given birth to a son,” said Ms Devi. She had suffered torture and harassment at hands of her mother-in-law and that is suspected to be the reason behind her mental illness and amnesia. The girl has not yet remembered when she left the house of her in-laws and how she reached Koraput.

After the revival of her memory, Koraput CWC contacted its counterpart in Bhojpur district of Bihar. Her parents were traced out. She could identify her parents from photographs and her parents also recognised a photo of their missing daughter. Her family members have started making phone calls to enquire about her.

Koraput CWC has approached the district administration to take up the matter with the Bhojpur administration for the safe return of the girl to her parents. “We want to ensure her proper rehabilitation after she returns to her family,” said Ms Devi.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 3:08:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/in-odisha-girl-regains-memory-after-three-years/article26525511.ece

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