TIKAPUR, May 10: Befani Tharu,19, of Mukta Kamaiya (free bonded-laborers) settlement at Lamkichuha Municipality, has been tied with a rope for the last 14 years. It is uncertain how long she will stay like this due to her struggle with mental health.
Her mother Jhingiya Tharu says they tie her with a rope fearing that she might run away from home. According to her, Befani fell ill when she was five years old and never recovered. She can barely speak and defecates in her bed. She starts blabbering if she is hungry.
Her father Chinka and mother Jhingiya who are free bonded laborers took her to several Shamans thinking she was possessed by an evil spirit. Later, some people suggested to them that she will be healed if they adopted Christianity. Believing their words, they started carrying their daughter to the local church once a week. Sadly, neither the doctors nor the church could improve her health.
“We also went to Nepalgunj Hospital not just once but several times,” said Jhingiya, adding, “As we saw no change in her condition, we stopped going anywhere.” They lament that their daughter’s treatment cost has left them debt-ridden. The couple has been doing labor to earn a living. They have three sons and five daughters. None of the other children have such health problem. Jhingiya says she has been tired of worrying about her ill daughter.
When her parents are at work, she is taken care of by her elder brother and his wife. “At least one member of our family has to stay home taking care of her. There is a highway nearby so we can’t take risk by leaving her alone,” said Befani’s sister-in-law Sunita Tharu. As the family can’t afford her treatment anymore, they wish someone could provide financial help for Befani’s treatment.