ILAM, March 9: A nine-year old girl of Nayachowk, Suryodaya Municipality, is living a life which is no different from that of animals. The family members of Deepshikha Puri have tied her with a rope due to her mental illness.
Deepshikha's father who is originally from Bhadrapur of Jhapa is currently working in Kathmandu. Six months ago, her mother ran away with another man compelling the children to suffer more. Since then she has been living in the house of Kalpana Tamang of Nayachowk along with her brothers and septuagenarian grandmother. Her elder brother is a fifth grader and her younger brother is a second grader at Birendra Secondary School. Earlier, their parents used to work in the house of Tamang to make their ends meet but now their absence has left them struggling even for the basic needs.
"They are living a miserable life in the absence of a breadwinner. So, I have kept them in my house without charging them any rent," said Tamang. According to the locals, these children had to spend days on empty stomach as their father didn't return from Kathmandu. The condition of Deepshikha is worse. She is often found tearing her clothes and running away from the house. This is the reason why she has been straitjacketed by tying bamboo poles to her legs with the objective of stopping her from running. "Sometimes we had to go for searching her even at night," said Tamang. Her father has been out of contact ever since he went to Kathmandu four months. However, her eloped mother has recently made a visit to them, according to the locals.
Though they have a safe shelter, managing two square meals for the children has been a challenge for the old grandmother. Her poor financial condition has deprived Deepshikha of medical treatment. "I don't think, they can arrange money for her treatment when they hardly get food to eat," laments Tamag, adding, "It would be better if someone would provide them financial help."
Chitrakala Baraili, deputy chief of the District Coordination Committee says the little girl is living a tragic life and needs to be rescued. "If she is kept this way, her condition might get worse in the future. So, we must do something for her treatment," said Baraili.
Caption: Deepshikha Puri who has been straitjacketed by tying bamboos to her legs.