Delhi’s starved sisters remained locked up for 6 years (Lead)

June 16th, 2012 - 10:12 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 16 (IANS) An eerie silence shrouded the Gupta household in north Delhi’s Rohini where two sisters had locked themselves for the last over six years. Traumatised and frightened to face the world since their father’s death, the sisters were “starving and smelling” when a medical emergency team rescued them from their home Saturday.

Rescued by a team of Centralised Accident and Trauma Services (CATS), Mamta (40) and Neerja (29) were found in tattered clothing and with dishevelled hair, wounds seen all over their body, doctors said. The sisters, who lived with their 60-year-old mother and Mamta’s teenager son, were not fed properly for months together as they battled financial and emotional crisis after their father passed away 10 years back.

“They were never seen outside for last six-seven years. We used to hear them screaming inside their house and could gather little from Mamta’s son Shubham who came to play with children,” neighbour Archana, 20, recalled.

“Their relatives often came to take them to the doctor, but they asked to be left alone. There was hardly any engagement,” the Delhi University student told IANS.

Their sorry state was revealed only after the sisters’ cousin Neeraj, who came over to visit them Friday evening, decided to call the CATS Saturday on seeing Mamta’s condition deteriorate. While Mamta mumbled “mujhe nahin jaana (I don’t want to go)”, there was little she could do to resist with her bony frame, sunken cheeks and inability to get up from her bed.

Mamta and Neerja were rushed to Delhi’s government’s Ambedkar hospital where they were brought at 11.40 a.m. and 1.10 p.m., respectively.

“It appears they have not been fed for months together. Mamta has bone deformity all over her body which confined her to bed, so she had been defecating on the bed only,” said a senior doctor from the hospital.

Clad in tattered salwar-kameez, both the women were shaggy-haired and had long nails when brought to hospital. The Gupta sisters suffered from “flexion deformity” caused due to restricted physical movement, the doctor said.

“We have known from Neerja that they were in deep emotional trauma. Elder sister Mamta was divorced 16 years back, and that added to the family’s problems,” the doctor said, adding “their only outlet to the outer world was their mother and son”.

According to doctors at the hospital, the women were in such a state that “medical staff distanced itself due to the smell”. “We had to call in our special doctors as they were too weak. It was difficult to measure blood pressure as the women had grown too skinny for the pressure-measuring band,” said Kaustuv Kiran, chief medical officer at Ambedkar hospital.

“We will be keeping them under complete medical observation for the next few days. They are not critical, but are grossly malnourished,” added Kiran.

Soon after they were forced to the hospital, their locked house gave telltale signs of their condition. A dysfunctional desert cooler lay outside their two-storey house in Rohini’s Sector 8 and gathered neighbours talked in hushed tones of their confinement.

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