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40 mentally ill patients rescued in Madhya Pradesh

The mentally ill patients were ostensibly brought to the Hussain Tekri shrine in the district by their relatives seeking a cure.

india Updated: Jun 26, 2017 15:29 IST
Punya Priya Mitra
Punya Priya Mitra
Hindustan Times, Bhopal
Madhya Pradesh,Mentally ill,Ratlam
The mentally ill patients were ostensibly brought to the Hussain Tekri shrine in the district by their relatives seeking a cure.

At least 40 mentally ill patients, kept chained and often beaten, were rescued by police in Madhya Pradesh’s Ratlam district on Sunday.

The victims were ostensibly brought by their relatives to the well-known Hussain Tekri shrine situated on the outskirts of Jaora city to seek cure.

Owner of Vasi lodge, who had kept around a dozen people in chains and was fleecing money from the patient’s family members, was arrested and other lodge owners were warned against keeping anyone in chains.

Mohammad Iftikar Ali Khan Bahadur, the then Nawab of Jaora, had built this shrine in the 19th century. Thousands throng the shrine every year to seek blessings. They believe that the ‘evil’ spirits will leave the body of the patients once they come in contact with the spiritual powers of the shrine.

Ratlam city superintendent of police Deepak Shukla, who led the operation, said that under no circumstances anyone be chained, irrespective of whether he or she is mentally ill or sane.

The case came to the light after one Kaluram Chouhan (55) who had been kept bond in chains at Vasi lodge, managed to escape and sought help from his relatives.

He lodged a complaint at the Jaora’s industrial area police station narrating the horrors he had been facing. He said even though he was sane he was kept in chains, beaten and made to do the rounds of the dargah lighting lobhan (a kind of incense), along with others.

He also told police that he was beaten and not given enough food by the lodge owner.

Another victim Dilip Parmar (30) also told the police a similar tale of torture on June 23.

Taking cognisance of these two complaints, the police raided Vasi Lodge and found at least a dozen patients in chains and arrested Mohammad Sayeed.

He was charged with various offences, including wrongful confinement and voluntarily causing grievous hurt, said CSP Shukla.

“The lodge owner along with other people, taking advantage of the gullibility of the people, was fleecing money, ranging from Rs 6,000 to Rs 8000 per month, from the family of patients.”

Police said in the case of Kaluram, his son, daughter-in-law and wife had conspired to keep him at the lodge.

Police have warned the lodge and hotel owners in the vicinity not to keep people in chains.

Shukla said all the men and women who have been freed are being medically examined and their families have been informed.

First Published: Jun 26, 2017 00:07 IST