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Did govt officials hide plight of the confined woman?

Story: the goan I network | 17th July 2017, 04:44 Hrs

The police have now begun to explore whether government and bank officials were aware of the wrongful confinement of Sunita Verlekar Shirodkar since 2009, a year after she is believed to have been confined by her family.

PANAJI\r\rReliable sources disclosed that after she was entrusted to the care of Provedoria shelter home at Altinho, Sunita began to reveal her story in bits to the Director of Provedoria Vinayak Volvoikar and residents of the shelter home.\rVolvoikar, who is a trained psychologist himself, took a keen interest and patiently listened to Sunita’s story of woe. It was Volvoikar, who first found out that Sunita’s brothers and their wives, had been receiving government monthly financial benefit of around Rs 1,500 to 2,000 in her name since 2009. The Provedoria director took up the matter with the director of social welfare, who confirmed that the monthly financial benefits were indeed disbursed to Sunita under the Dayanand Social Security Scheme since 2009. The total amount withdrawn in her name till March stood at whooping Rs 98,000.\rVolvoikar then checked these details with Canara Bank manager, where Sunita held a joint account with her brother. The bank official affirmed that the amount was withdrawn each month.\rHowever, what is shocking is that officials of the directorate of social welfare or bank officials may have visited Sunita regularly to secure her thumbprint for periodical review of the scheme or for issuing life certificate.\rWhen contacted, Volvoikar, who has taken a keen interest in rehabilitating Sunita, said, “She told me that government officials visited her often for her thumbprint as she was registered for disability welfare benefits. She says she went to the lone tiny window in the small room and extended her hand out for the fingerprint to be registered.”\rThe imminent likelihood of the government officials being aware of the sordid conditions of Sunita’s dwellings and the manner in which she survived has shocked the investigating team as well as Provedoria staff.\rA member of the police rescue team informed that the room in which she was kept was behind her natal house in Candolim. “There was a narrow path on the side of the house which led to this room. It was completely secluded from sight,” the rescue team member stated.\rMeanwhile, Sunita, who is believed to have been confined in a three ft by two ft room next to her house by her own brothers and their wives since 2008, has been making splendid progress at the shelter home.\r“She sleeps very peacefully and for long period, which is a very promising sign. She smiles a lot. I have requested a few residents of the home to pay a special attention to her. We have briefed them on how to speak to her, on what to talk and what not to talk. Her appetite has improved and we are hoping that she will be in better health within a week or so,” Volvoikar said.\rIt has also come to light that she has completed her Std 12th in Commerce.\rAfter Sunita was entrusted to Provedoria, she was given a haircut, her nails were trimmed and painted. The Provedoria staff has gifted her a few essential belongings and residents around her have gone the extra mile to ensure her comfort.
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