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Caged due to ill health, girl rescued in Cooch Behar

The parents, daily wage earners, set up a wooden cage on the veranda of their house and kept her there.

Statesman News Service | Siliguri |

The local administration in Cooch Behar district has taken steps to rescue a 16-year-old girl, who is not mentally and physically well and who has been caged by her parents.

The parents have said that they had to keep her that way for her “safety.” The Mathabhanga-II Block Development Officer in the district was asked to take steps immediately after the incident was highlighted by a Bengali language TV channel today.

State Women and Child Welfare Minister Shashi Panja and former North Bengal Development Minister Rabindranath Ghosh have assured that the administration would take steps to help the girl and her family.

The parents said that the girl used to always leave the house in their absence. The parents, daily wage earners, finally set up a wooden cage on the veranda of their house and kept her there, it is learnt.

According to Suchitra Barman, the mother of the girl, they caged the girl for her “safety” as they failed to stop her movement. Mrs Barman also pointed out that they tried to make arrangements for her medical treatment but in vain.

The Mathabhanga-II BDO initially sent the police to the Boraibari village and a team of officials, including the Block Medical Officer of Health, to take stock of the situation and free the girl from the cage.

Shashi Panja has stressed the need for counselling the parents. Former minister Rabindranath Ghosh, on the other hand, termed the incident as inhumane and said: “I will talk to the district magistrate about taking necessary steps to provide her proper medical treatment and legitimate financial assistance.”

“I will try to visit her home tomorrow,” Mr Ghosh said today. It is learnt that the administration will make arrangements for her treatment in the district headquarters, along with other arrangements. Suchitra Barman has now expressed happiness at the role of the local administration.

According to her, BDO Ujjal Sardar has now made all arrangements, including extra foodstuff and garments, for her daughter. “We had to cage her for her own safety as she used to often venture out of the house,” Mrs Barman said.