Old hands
Picture for illustrative purposes. Image Credit: Pixabay

Thiruvananthapuram: In a heart-numbing incident, a son and daughter-in-law in Kerala’s Kottayam district have been accused of locking the man’s elderly parents in a room, and starving them for days together.

When their neighbours, local panchayat officials and palliative care workers came to know of the matter and reached to help them, it was too late for the man’s father, identified as Podiyan, 80 who died on way to the hospital. His 76-year-old wife, Ammini has been moved to the Kottayam Medical College for treatment and for special psychological care.

A dog to prevent help

To add to their plight, their son Reji had kept a dog chained near his parents, to deter anyone from helping them.

When the incident came to light on Wednesday, Reji absconded. Police nabbed him on Thursday and he has been booked for denying food and medicine to his parents. Podiyan had a disability in one hand and could not eat himself.

Local media reported that some neighbours were aware of the elderly couple’s condition, and were occasionally feeding the couple, sometimes through the window. The couple lived at Vandanpathal near Mundakayam in Kottayam district.

Found by health workers

The couple was found in a critical condition on Wednesday by the Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA workers) who were on their rounds to visit people in need of palliative care. ASHA workers are trained community health workers.

The ASHA workers found Podiyan in a semi-conscious state, and some stale food in a small vessel in the couple’s room.

Getting information from them, panchayat member Sinimol Thadathil informed police, and police and neighbours helped move the couple to the taluk hospital in Kanjirapally, where Podiyan was declared dead. Ammini was then moved to the Kottayam Medical College for more specialised treatment.