After 15 years in captivity,47-yr-old tastes freedomhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/kolkata/after-15-years-in-captivity-47yrold-tastes-freedom/

After 15 years in captivity,47-yr-old tastes freedom

It was after 15 long years that Mahadev Pandit saw the world outside his small room on Saturday. When the police entered the pigeonhole on the terrace of his residence in Raghabpur...

Howrah family kept him in chains due to his ‘anti-social activities and abusive nature’

It was after 15 long years that Mahadev Pandit saw the world outside his small room on Saturday. When the police entered the pigeonhole on the terrace of his residence in Raghabpur,they found the 47-year-old in chains,with his hands and feet tied. A malnourished,weak Pandit could not stand on his feet even after he was freed.

The Howrah district police have arrested his father Ramchandra and brother Sahadev for wrongful confinement. They had allegedly kept him under lock and key because of Pandit’s “anti-social” activities and “abusive” behaviour.

On the complaint of neighbours,a team from the Domjur police station,accompanied by the block development officer,swooped on the house and rescued Pandit. The police are now on the lookout for Rabin,Pandit’s uncle whom they suspect to be the main culprit. “Rabin was not at home when we reached there. He must have been warned by the family and is evading arrest. We are trying to trace him,” said Howrah Superintendent of Police Neeraj Singh.

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“A few locals from the area had lodged a complaint with us a few days ago,stating that Mahadev’s condition was serious,following which we went to his house. Irregular meals had made him very weak and his legs could not carry his weight due to years of immobility. Pandit was taken to the Domjur rural hospital where he is undergoing treatment for malnourishment. Doctors said proper food and rest would improve his condition,” Singh added.

Pandit’s family had initially stopped the police team from entering the house,refuting the charge that they were holding anyone captive. The police forced their way in and found a “mentally unstable” Pandit in chains — his hair and beard evidently not trimmed for years and his room not cleaned ever.

“The family let us in after we threatened to arrest everyone in the house. We made it clear that we had specific information of Pandit’s presence in the house,” said an officer.

The police said there was no drinking water in the room where Pandit spent the last 15 years. “Though his thoughts weren’t too clear,Pandit told us he had been physically abused by his family,” said the officer.

During questioning,Pandit’s father and brother told the police that they had locked him up because he used to indulge in anti-social activities and also hit family members.

The questioning of other family members revealed that Pandit’s father and uncles had made his wife and son leave the house around the same time his years in captivity began,the police said.