When Seema (name changed), a sex worker, saw 27-year-old Priya (name changed) languishing on the streets of Connaught Place, she reached out to Priya to save her from the city’s apathy.
A well-educated woman and dressed in a sweatshirt and track pants, Priya had been sleeping on the pavements of one of the city’s most visited markets for the past two months.
“When we found her on the streets and asked her to come to a shelter home being run by us, she refused. It was only after Seema convinced her that she would have a better life if she left that place that she agreed to come. She had befriended the group of sex workers during her stay there,” said Indu Prakash Singh, technical advisor, Indo Global Social Service Society (IGSSS), the NGO that rescued Priya.
Priya — who speaks fluent English, a bit of French, Marathi and Kannada, claims to have studied chemistry in college — has now been shifted to Institute of Behavioural Health and Allied Sciences (IBHAS) in Shahdara.
“She was brought here two days ago and we have put her on medication. She doesn’t seem to remember much about her past,” said Dr Nimesh G Desai, director, IBHAS.
Doctors said they were yet to ascertain if she had been drugged or subjected to sexual assault.
An NGO worker who was part of the rescue mission said, “The sex workers told us many times that she was a nice girl and that she should be taken away lest her life is ruined.”
Another doctor at IBHAS said all she remembered was that she had come to the New Delhi railway station a few days ago and had gone to Connaught Place (where she was spotted) after that.
“She says she has come from New Delhi railway station and sometimes mentions Uttam Nagar in her conversations. To complete her sentences, she uses words and phrases from the four languages that she knows. We are treating her for a bipolar disorder and the medicines would take at least three weeks to show the effects,” said the doctor.
“It was a difficult task getting her to the shelter home but she was comfortable once she saw children and women there,” said the NGO worker.