70-yr-old woman held captive by son in a toilet for 2 yrs, freed

The woman was locked up inside a toilet for two years and did not see daylight during that time," said Mahima Bhandary, a counsellor.

With the aid of the police and an NGO, a 70-year-old widow who had been held captive by her son and daughter-in-law in a toilet at their home for over two years was freed in Bantwal taluk, Dakshina Kannada district.

The lady who was found alive has been identified as Girija, a local of the Kallige Benjanapadav Karavali, Dakshina Kannada, Karnataka.

On January 1, 2020, Girija fell and was injured and instead of getting her medical care for her wounds, her son Hariram and daughter-in-law Pooja kept her in a bathroom and even refused to provide her food.

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She also claimed that Pooja used to abuse her. A few days earlier, a local resident who had grown dubious of the couple’s treatment of the old woman called the district’s Senior Citizens’ Helpline.

“The woman was locked up inside a toilet for two years and did not see daylight during that time,” said Mahima Bhandary, a counsellor at the hotline. She was in a serious condition. After seeing that the lady had not left the house, some neighbours used to ask the couple where Girija was. Every time, the pair deceived them by stating that she was having a bath or had left the house to go to work.

Mahima said, “Girija was injured and unable to move after falling in the verandah. She was left in the same condition for two years after the pair dropped her in the toilet without providing any first assistance.”

The victim was saved and then transported to Wenlock Hospital on Thursday. Her son, a daily wage worker, visited the hospital, caused a commotion, and promised to drive her home.

However, the mother refused to return to the home of her son and instead asked the counsellors to transfer her to an ashram in Padil.

The accused have been charged with violating Sections 336 (endangering the life or personal safety of others), 504 (intentionally insulting a person), and 24 of the 2007 Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act after the police filed a suo motu complaint against them.

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