Shanker Shrestha/Republica Bandana tied to a wooden bed with a rope in this recent photo.
DHADING, March 13: Her face swollen with sinusitis, she sometimes screams, shouts, scolds visitors, stands by a wooden pole or tries to run away when someone comes nearby. She sometimes smiles and weeps other times.
A six-year old girl of Bokso village at Salyantar Village Development Committee, she has been tied to a wooden bed with a fiber rope for the past two years. She neither can free herself nor can she move to other places. She even does not know she is tethered with a rope.
Bandana, the eldest daughter of Kamala and Baburam Kumal, was alright before the devastating earthquake of April 25, 2015. “My granddaughter lost her memory due to the shock of the tremor,” said Dhan Kumari Kumal.
“My daughter was playing alone. The quake struck and houses collapsed. People started crying and running around. Then she lost her playfulness,” said Kamala. “After that day, she started behaving strangely.”
Bandana can neither communicate about the nature's call nor interact with anybody, said her father Baburam, who is a driver. “She has been tied with a rope to save her from possible accidents,” he said. “When she is free, she starts running wildly. We are afraid of her jumping from the steep when she goes behind the house, and afraid of vehicles hitting her when she runs to front of the house.”
When she is alone or with her family members, she looks up at the roof. She runs unsteadily and runs looking at the roof. “Thinking that she was terribly frightened, she was taken to a shaman for removing her fear,” said Kamala. “It didn't work. Then the neighbors suggested taking her to a hospital. We did so. But the doctors also informed us that she does not have any disease,” she added. “Then, we visited temples wishing the God for her recovery.”
“Rs. 500,000 was spent for her treatment but it also did not help her. We have now a debt of Rs. 200,000 taken for her treatment. Farming can feed us for six months and earning from driving for the remaining six months,” said her parents. “If we look after her staying at home, we will die of hunger. So we are forced to tie her with a rope.”