National Post (Latest Edition)

Bereaved adult siblings lived for a decade locked in tiny room

- JOE WALLEN

Two brothers and a sister who locked themselves inside a single room for a decade after the death of their mother are slowly readjustin­g to normal life.

The siblings, aged 34, 39 and 42, were brought out of the room in the city of Rajkot, India, after an appeal from their elderly father, who said he had lost hope of them ever emerging.

The room had no natural sunlight, the floor was being used as a lavatory and there were piles of rubbish.

Volunteers from the Saathi Seva Group NGO, which normally works with the homeless community, broke down the door of the room on Dec. 28. The siblings’ father, Navin Mehta, 85, said he brought food every day but was too scared to enter as he believed he would be exposed to black magic.

Ambrish, 42, the elder brother, was “skeletal” and unable to stand after sitting cross-legged for weeks, while Bhavesh, 34, had memory loss.

Their sister, Meghna, 39, was the only one clothed and said she had been cooking for her brothers using the supplies left at the house by their father.

“They may be like what their father says ( that they are mentally ill), but they need treatment urgently,” said Jalpa Patel, leader of the Saathi Seva team.

Mehta said his children were well- educated and had degrees in economics, law, and psychology but his wife’s death “affected them deeply.” He added that “some relatives did black magic on them.”

The trio were taken for psychologi­cal assessment at a government hospital.

Meghna and Bhavesh are responding well, but Ambrish is still to speak a word, the Saathi Seva volunteers said.

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