In a heart-wrenching incident, a middle-aged woman believed to be in her late-forties, was rescued on Tuesday after nearly 15 years from a locked room of her maternal house in North Goa’s Candolim village.
Superintendent of Police (Crime) Karthik Kashyap told reporters here that the woman, identified as Sunita Verlekar, was rescued with the help of activists from a women’s right’s NGO Bailancho Saad.
“She was in a closed room was for 15 years. We were informed about it by the NGO, following which a Women’s Police Station team rescued her late this (Tuesday) evening,” Kashyap said.
The rescued woman was sent for medical examination to a local government hospital, before being admitted to the Panaji-based Institute of Psychiatry and Human Behaviour.
Police sources said the victim lived in a locked room of the house, which is occupied by her brother Mohandas’ family.
“The brother occupied the rest of the house with his family and used to provide her with food. We found her without clothes in a room, which had no electricity. There was urine all around the place and she was being given food through a slit in the door,” a police constable involved in the rescue operation said.
An offence has been booked under Section 342 (wrongful confinement) of the Indian Penal Code, police said.
Speaking to IANS, Bailancho Saad Convener Sabina Martins said that Sunita’s health had deteriorated over time and giving her medical treatment was a priority.
“What next, should be probed. Right now, she needs hospitalisation. Her health has deteriorated,” Martins said.
Mohandas, however, told reporters that Sunita was mentally unsound and had, therefore, been kept in one room.
“Sunita would insist on not wearing any clothes. She was under treatment for sometime, but later on it was discontinued. We used to provide her food and look after her,” Mohandas told reporters.