An 80-year-old man allegedly starved to death after he and his wife were found locked in a room at Mundakayam in Kottayam district on Tuesday. The 76-year-old woman, who has mental health problems, was rescued by health workers.
The incident came into light on Tuesday evening after palliative care workers from the panchayat visited the house. Podiyan was found lying on a bed inside the locked room on Tuesday evening while his 76-year-old wife Ammini was sitting near him. -Podiyan died on the way to hospital. Ammini has been shifted to Kottayam Medical College Hospital.
A postmortem will be carried out to ascertain the cause of the manâ€™s death. The police are awaiting the postmortem report before filing the case. Mundakayam Station House Officer D Shibukumar said, "We will start further legal proceedings after the postmortem and doctor's observation. Exact reason of death can be known only after postmortem results. We are enquiring more about the family."
Police suspect the case to be that of elder abuse and neglect. Neighbours said that the aged coupleâ€™s younger son and his wife used to live in the same house.
Rekha Das, Mundakkayam panchayat president, said that there were complaints earlier that the son is not taking care of his parents. However, the couple was reportedly not ready to go to a rehabilitation center. "The son didnâ€™t allow anybody to enter the house. Even their relatives are living close by. He won't allow palliative care members, Asha workers or any others to enter inside," she alleged.
The panchayat president went on to allege that though the son and his family lived in the same house they didn't provide food to the aged parents. She said one of their relatives used to give some food to the couple through the windows when Reji and his wife went out of the house.
"Palliative care workers who saw the ailing father in bed took a photo and sent it to us. We immediately reached the house along with the police. The son did not allow us to enter inside until the police forced him. We immediately rescued them and the father died on the way," she added.