A woman was kept chained naked to a bed in a dirty room for 14 years by her husband and mother-in-law at Baruipur in the southern fringes of the city. Madhabi Das (40) was rescued by her neighbours on Saturday and her torturers were arrested.
Madhabi’s woes began ever since the death of her parents in Basanti in South 24 Parganas district. Not content with the huge dowry, her husband Madhab and mother-in-law Amala tortured and starved her because the steady stream of money had dried up. Madhabi’s daughter Tusi, who appeared for her higher secondary exam this year, remained a silent spectator.
All earlier attempts to rescue Madhabi had failed but on Saturday members of a local club managed to enter the room inside the house at Uma Charan Roy Road where she was kept confined.
Madhab, who runs a grocery shop near Baruipur Station Bazar, claimed that Madhabi was mentally deranged and that she would often turn violent. But neighbours said Madhabi had tried to cover her bare body on seeing them and that proves that she was in her senses.
The police will consult psychiatrists to verify Madhab’s claims but for now Madhabi has been admitted to Baruipur hospital and from there she may sent to Antara, a home for the mentally ill.
One of Madhabi’s rescuers, Raju Rudra, said constant torture had made Madhabi lose her mental balance but hoped that proper treatment can help her to regain her senses, Rudra said.
Another neighbour Dipa Sur said that the local people had been informing the police about the torture, but nothing can be done, "as whenever we went to rescue her, Amala used to abuse us and say filthy words".
The torture is evident as some of the neighbours said that often they had seen Madhabi had been found tied to the cot with her hair and had also been chained. Dipa also added that Amala used to torture her and used to throw burning coal on her body. Even Madhab used to burn her with burning cigarette and she used to cry. Even the daughter turned part of the assault team, Dipa said.
Today many people had gathered infront of the two storeyed house of the Das family and as Madhabi was shouting in pain while she was being tortured some of the club members forced their entry into the house. she was kept confined in a room filled with dirt.
The three family members were remanded in police custody for further interrogation. Madhab however told police that as Madhabi was insane and no treatment yielded result so she was chained. The police are verifying his statement and for that they are taking opinion from psychiatrists.
Even Madhab complained to police that she had once left home with another local trader and had filed a case against him.