Elderly woman locked in her home for 10 years by her sons, finally freed

A day after Gnanajothi (72) was rescued from a Tamil Nadu home she had been confined to for 10 years by her two well-earning sons, the siblings were arrested on Saturday for allegedly abandoning the elderly person.

Tamil University Police have registered a case against the two sons – 50-year-old Police Inspector Shanmugasundaram who works in Chennai and his younger brother Venkatesan (45), a Pattukottai-based employee of Doordarshan – under Section 24 of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Elderly Persons Act.

Speaking to reporters, Shanmugasundaram blamed his younger brother saying that Venkatesan used his mother’s pension of Rs 30,000 every month and was responsible for their mother’s health.

According to the Social Welfare Department, Gnanajothi, 72, was rescued by Social Welfare Department officials after a tip-off from a stranger, who called them after seeing a social media video of the woman lying down naked inside her house in a fragile condition.

The woman was admitted to Thanjavur Medical College Hospital, District Collector Dinesh Ponraj Oliver said, while adding that doctors were urged to take necessary measures for her speedy recovery.

On Friday, neighbors had informed authorities that the sons had made arrangements to provide food for their mother as they were living elsewhere. Whenever she was hungry and in need of food, Gnanajothi would sound the alarm and neighbors would throw cookies or fruit into the locked house, police said.

Although neighbors were aware of his condition, they apparently did not share the details with anyone, fearing the information might be suppressed.

With the help of the police, Social Affairs Department staff broke into the house on Friday as her sons refused to part with the key and managed to save the elderly woman.

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