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Victim of ignorance; mentally ill chained at home for years

D.N.I.S. News Network – When it comes to mental illness, majority of the people in India are ignorant about most aspects of this disability. The stigma attached to mental illness is such that they prefer to turn a blind eye to it, and also pretend that those suffering from the illness are non-existent by simply shutting the doors on them. Faridkot district in Punjab is a case in point.

It has been found that due to ignorance, quackery and superstition in rural areas of Punjab, a large number of mentally ill people have been chained in their homes for years. Roop Singh of Roori Kapura village is the latest among 13 such cases in Faridkot district alone that have come to light in the past year.

Singh had been chained for years. On August 2, he was rescued from a fodder store in his house. After four days of treatment at Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital, Roop’s condition has improved. It was revealed that Roop had not seen daylight for about two decades. Close relatives disclosed that the problem started with Roop getting fits after his father committed suicide and his mother left the house. In the beginning, he was taken to some occultist for treatment, but as his condition deteriorated, and he allegedly started pelting villagers with stones, he was chained and locked up in the fodder store.

The Red Cross is providing for the treatment of 13 such people who were rescued by the district administration. “These patients have responded well to treatment and counselling. Not only occultism but quackery and wrong treatment are also responsible for such inhuman treatment,” Gurdial Singh, Secretary, Red Cross, Faridkot was quoted as saying.