A family in Punjab has reportedly kept a mentally deranged member chained to a tree for seven years to restrain him from attacking people, a newspaper reported Tuesday.
Jagtar Singh, 35, lives tied to a tree with a chain used to shackle animals at Talwandi Malina village in Moga district, The Tribune said. He reportedly lives in an area of less than four square feet in the backyard of the family home.
The report came a day after a fire killed 25 inmates of a home for the mentally ill in Tamil Nadu. All the victims were chained and so could not escape the blaze. The incident sparked a debate on the rights of the mentally ill.
Jagtar Singh's family reportedly claimed he had been shackled
because he was a threat to them and the villagers. But some villagers blamed his
younger brother Gurdip Singh for his plight, and said it was a fight over
A police team reportedly visited Singh's family Monday but returned without
The Tribune said the family resisted its reporters' efforts to
reach Jagtar Singh, saying he would attack them. When the Tribune team finally
made it to the shackled man, they found him "sitting quietly and coolly".
Jagtar Singh, who the paper said was "stinking like an animal", however, did
not answer any question.
While his father Harbans Singh and most other family members said
there was nothing wrong in shackling a violent Jagtar, his mother Surit Kaur
pleaded with the Tribune team to have him released before Gurdip Singh
Kaur, who apparently had bruises on her face, said Jagtar needed to be
treated in a hospital. But she reportedly fell silent when other members of
the family came within earshot.
Harbans Singh claimed that Jagtar Singh used to beat his relatives and
But the villagers had a different story to tell. They said that
while Jagtar was born mentally challenged, he never harmed anyone and used to
assist the family in farming.
Things, however, changed a decade ago after Gurdip Singh got
married. A few months later the family began chaining Jagtar Singh for short
spells. Every time he was released, Jagtar became aggressive and attacked
Indo-Asian News Service
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