“Mentally Ill” Haryana Woman Locked Up in Toilet By Husband For a Year. Who is Mentally Ill Here?


“Mentally Ill” Haryana Woman Locked Up in Toilet By Husband For a Year. Who is Mentally Ill Here?

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

As the country comes to grips with 2020, and all the hardship the lockdown has left in its wake, a horrific story of a Haryana woman has put the last year into perspective for the rest of us. A woman was rescued from a toilet in the state’s Panipat district, where she was trapped for over a year by her husband, the police have said.

The husband, who is now facing criminal charges, claims that his wife is mentally unstable and that she insisted on sitting in the toilet. The rescue team has, however, countered his claim. The state’s Woman Protection and Child Marriage Prohibition Officer Rajni Gupta, who led the rescue efforts, said the woman didn’t seem to be mentally unstable, but that her physical condition indicated that she had been starved.

“It is being said that she is mentally unstable, but it is not true. We have talked to her and it was apparent,” Gupta said, according to reports. “We rescued her and washed her hair. We have filed a police complaint. The police will take action accordingly.”

The woman’s husband, meanwhile, who is at the centre of this investigation, said his wife’s mental health had not improved despite visits to local doctors. “We ask her to sit outside but she does not sit there. We have taken her to doctors but there was no improvement,” he said, an argument that didn’t fully explain why he locked her in.

The 35-year-old mother of three, meanwhile, was taken to a hospital and was handed over to a cousin. “She was so weak that she could not even walk; she ate 8 chapatis, when we gave her food,” Gupta was quoted as saying. “She was not even given proper food and drinking water in captivity.”

After getting the woman’s health checked, the police will now move ahead with their investigations into her husband of 17 years Naresh Kumar. Kumar has been arrested under IPC sections related to wrongful confinement, and harassment. Hopefully, justice is delivered for this shocking incident soon.