Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Sakhigopal (Puri), May 12:
A mentally ill teenage boy from Odisha’s Puri district has been pegged to a post in their verandah like a domesticated animal as his parents are disabled too.
Fifty-two-year old Laxmidhar Sahu’s son Bijay Sahu (15) was detected with congenital problems during his birth. The attending doctors advised Laxmidhar to shift the newborn to district headquarters hospital at Puri. However, the doctors there referred him to SCB Medical College and Hospital for specialised treatment. But, Laxmidhar returned to his village Rupadeipur under Pipili block in Odisha’s Puri district as it was economically not viable for him to get his son treated.
Bijay was unable to walk till the age of eight. Some advised him to go for naturopathy. The toddler was buried waist deep in sand out in the open. Miraculously, he showed signs of slow improvement. But a minor accident with Laxmidhar put a spanner on Bijay’s treatment. The low-cost treatment was suspended indefinitely.
Now, he is being chained to a post in their verandah to check his movement.
“As he is not able to walk, he moves to other places crawling on the ground. He is not able to return home due to cognitive issues. We are forced to chain him at home,” Laxmidhar said.
He remains bare as he tears his dress. He moves around the post and stares at passersby, he added.
Laxmidhar’s wife—Sanjukta (45) — was physically handicapped since birth while Laxmidhar’s mobility has been restricted since 2011 after a freak mishap. Laxmidhar lost his balance and slipped on the floor following which he broke his femur on the day of Ganesh Puja. He is unable to move around properly since then.
Prior to this, the sole breadwinner of the family suffered from arthritis in 1980 and faced difficulty in gait. The villagers made some contributions for his treatment, but it dried up in couple of months, forcing him to discontinue his treatment.
Laxmidhar’s family gets Rs 300 as disability pension from the state government. Besides, it gets the monthly quota of BPL rice. However, it is too little for the family of three disabled persons to meet their ends. Recently, the family, which had been living in a dilapidated home, got a house under the Indira Awas Yojna (IAY).
“If my son’s treatment could be done through any government scheme to enable him to do his own work, then my soul would rest in peace after death,” a desperate father appealed.