Vadodara: Even the bravest would have skipped a heartbeat seeing the condition of a 40-year-old woman in a village near Karjan. Confined to a filthy small room for the last five years, the woman Mariam (name changed) was lying unconscious’ her clothes tattered and she was unable to communicate clearly.

Mariam was rescued by 181 Abhayam helpline for women last week some Good Samaritan informed them about her condition.

She had separated from her husband and returned to her mother’s house in Sansrod village seven years back. Abhayam officials said that Mariam was unable to bear the shock of her widowed mother’s death five years ago. She lost her mental balance and her brother and other family members started to distance themselves from her. Embarassed by her behaviour, they used to keep her in captivity in another house in the same village.

“The family members used to unlock of the room only to serve her food as they were worried that she would behave badly in public,” said Niru Pagi, a counsellor with the helpline. When the helpline got information about the woman, the Padra team reached there and with the help of police opened the lock of the house. “She was lying unconscious but none of the family members were aware as they kept her locked inside,” said Pagi.

The helpline officials called her brother and asked them the reason behind this condition. Initially, he refuted any wrongdoing but later said that they had locked her up so that she would not escape from the house. “On talking to the woman, we learnt that she did not want to live with her brother. Once she started responding, we counselled her and other family members. They have agreed to keep her with care,” added Pagi.

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