Mentally ill woman in India kept in chains
Karauli, Rajasthan: Unable to pay for her treatment and with no assistance from the government, the family of a 65-year-old mentally ill woman in Rajasthan's Karauli district has kept her chained for more than seven years now.
Ramshri Devi is a resident of Khohara Ghusethi village near Hindon town in the district, over 200km from Jaipur. She is sometimes tied to a tree and sometimes confined to a room with her legs tied to the bed.
"We started to keep her in chains after she developed some mental illness seven years ago and became violent and hysterical. She started throwing stones at neighbours. It became the cause of frequent quarrels with other villagers, so we were compelled to keep her tied to the tree," Ramshri's son Singh said.
Singh, who also has a brother, Lokesh, said since she developed the illness, all their savings have been spent on her treatment.
"We even sold our ancestral farming land to pay for the treatment. But it seems in this small place, there is no hospital capable of treating my mother. And we don't have enough money to take her to big cities," he said.
When she becomes hysterical, the family members give her sleeping pills to calm her down.
Singh said recently a fire broke out in the house and family members could not find the keys to open the lock on the chain used to tie Ramshri.
"We had to use an axe to save her life. It might seem brutal to keep her chained, but we have no option," Singh said.
He said efforts to get help from the government for Ramshri's treatment were to no avail.
"I took her to every administration officer in the area for help, but nothing has been done," he said.