RAJKOT: When the killer earthquake ravaged Kutch in 2001, Sachinsinh Vadher, then 22, worked overtime, rummaging through the debris for bodies, hoping to find survivors. He even took the responsibility of giving a dignified cremation to the victims in Bhuj.
The disaster, however, inflicted such a mental trauma that Vadher, a promising cricketer too, sank into depression to never recover. He was also diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2004-5 that only grew severe.
Vadher’s hapless condition came to light on Friday after he was freed of chains — that his family had been binding him with for the past nine years — by members of Lok Seva Sarvajanik Trust, a voluntary organisation.
“Vadher’s family treated him for schizophrenia in the early stages, but couldn’t afford the treatment cost afterwards. As he used to turn violent at times, they moved him to their native Sukhpar village to avoid embarrassment,” said Hemendra Jansari, a social worker associated with the trust. Sources close to the family, whose members work as casual labourers, said that Vadher was abandoned by his elder brother who lives in Bhuj. His younger brother’s family chained him in a small room on the outskirts of the village.
Volunteers found Vadher semi-nude and emaciated, emitting a foul stench on not having bathed in months. He would drag himself out of the room in the day and back inside at night. His movements were extremely feeble. Family members could not even find the key to the chain’s lock as they had “forgotten” where it was kept.
“The chain and lock were so corroded that we had to use a grinder to break it. Vadher was taken to a mental hospital in Bhuj and shifted to an ashram which takes care of patients with mental illnesses,” Jansari said.