Tribal man who was languishing at Nagarahole has been admitted to K.R. Hospital
A tribal man suspected to be mentally challenged and left to fend for himself in the Nagarahole National Park has been rescued by the Forest Department and admitted to the K.R. Hospital for treatment.
This follows a directive from the State and National Human Rights Commission consequent to a complaint filed by P.R. Sreejith, a Wayanad-based human rights activist and advocate. (First reported in The Hindu on August 7, 2014)
The victim, identified as Kusa, was a common sight for motorists on the D.B. Kuppe-Mananthavady Road. Very few good samaritans would occasionally offer him food before driving away.
Mr. Sreejith, however, took up the issue with the SHRC and NHRC and pointed out that people with mental disorders were among the most vulnerable sections of society and were isolated, stigmatised and marginalised and hence sought for intervention last month.
The SHRC issued a directive to the Forest Department on July 16, 2014 to rescue the person within four weeks and file a report.
Speaking to this correspondent, Kusa’s brother Masthi said his brother led a normal life but started behaving strangely about 10 years ago. “He used to sit silently for days together and we thought he was in grief or worried about something. Soon after, he began to tear his clothes and preferred to move around naked,” recalled Masthi.
“We immediately summoned the tribal doctor who summoned the gods,” said Masthi referring to the tribal practice of depending on traditional healers who “invoke the spirits”. But Kusa’s condition worsened and he was left to fend for himself in the forests.
“Kusa used to roam in the forest for days and return sometimes at night, eat and go back to the jungles, oblivious of the dangers posed by wild animals,” said Masthi.
Mr. Sreejith is consulting specialists at NIMHANS, Bangalore, to explore the possibility of getting him treated after the initial treatment at Mysore. “I am in touch with NIMHANS and want to ensure that Kusa, who is in his late 20s, can return to normalcy,” he said.
In the meantime, the family members of Kusa have braced up for his prolonged stay at the hospital.