Penury dulls sensibilities and in a shocking instance of this, a 54-year-old Dalit man has been chained in his own house by his wife and children for over six months now at Lopo village under Nihal Singh Wala subdivision, 25 km from the district headquarter.
After HT brought the matter to light on Friday, Moga deputy commissioner Parminder Singh Gill has ordered an inquiry.
The family claims that the man, Gurnam Singh alias Gaama, has been mentally upset and had been a source of constant trouble for them as he used to turn violent.
"He used to work as an agricultural labourer and fell mentally ill around 18 months ago. However, due to our poor financial condition, he could not be treated in time," Swaran Kaur, his wife said.
Gurnam has three daughters and a son. Villagers said two daughters had been married and now his 16-year old daughter, 14-year old son and wife had been chaining him.
"I got him treated at various places, but to no effect. My husband earned `1,500 in a month and with six members to support, there was no way he could get proper treatment," said Swaran.
"He had taken treatment for long, but the treatment was costly and this led to him being mentally upset. He also suffered from diseases like high blood pressure etc," said Gurtej Singh, a panchayat member of Lopo village.
"I spent a lot of money on my husband's treatment. We took him at Barnala, Moga and Bathinda to no avail. We cannot spend more money on his treatment and finally decided to keep him chained as used to turn violent. I know it is inhuman but we have not any other option," said Swaran.
The victim's wife claimed to have approached local government officials for help in getting Gurnam treated at any government hospital free but was not helped.
"Six months ago, Gurnam started abusing family members as well as villagers and this led everyone to advised the family to lock him up in a room," village resident Ravi Inder Singh Ravi said.
Moga DC Parminder Singh Gill said, "Nobody has filed any complaint regarding this with any official of the administration. I will ask the Nihal Singh Wala SDM to inquire into the matter. A detailed report will also be sought from the health department. The guilty will be punished."