Basonti Rani Karmakarls family members claim she is mentally unstable. She has been kept in chain for 12 years.
The 31-year-old woman was found tied to a jackfruit three with a iron chain, beside her village home at Lokkhirhat-Dangapara in Debiganj upazila of Panchagarh, when this correspondent made a visit there on Tuesday.
Basonti sits on a shaky bench provisioned for her there. The tree cover atop her was not enough to guard her from the burn of the midday sun.
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Sheuly Akhter, a neighbour, said: “Basanti does some houshold chores when her younger brother's wife requires it. Her works are not much orderly though. And after that she is kept in chain the rest of the day.”
Basonti's father Horipodo Karmakar defended restricting her movement, giving the excuse that the neighbours complain of theft of this item or that by her when she is set free. “If we let her loose, we face complaints of our neighbours.”
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Horipodo informed that his daughter had studied till the eighth grade.
She suffered a mental breakdown at the age of 18, when her elder sister allegedly died at the hands of the in-laws, he added.
However, Basonti pulled herself together. She took a job under a Brac project on adolescent healthcare and went to Rajshahi for training. Returing home after the training, Basonti started showing signs of mental illness again. “Sometimes she had epileptic fits. And we are keeping her tied with the jackfruit tree since 2006 because of the complaints of her stealing items from the neighbours' households.”
Debiduba Union Parishad Chairman Abdur Razzak told the Dhaka Tribune that he was not aware that Basonti had been kept tied up for years. “I'll look into the matter and will arrange for the needed medical treatment.”