Barely a month after two sisters were rescued from a Noida flat by a non-government organisation, a similar case has come to the fore.
For 11 years, two sisters have not stepped out of their 8x10 single room flat in northeast Delhi's Maupur area. During the confinement they only interacted with the brother and his conversation with outsiders was restricted to purchasing groceries.
50-year-old Dungar Singh and his sisters, Savitri (47) and Vimla (44) locked themselves up in their house, as they feared that their stepsisters would usurp their property.
The three siblings reside on the first floor of a building in Maujpur. They own two shops on the ground floor. While one of the shops is rented out, the shutters of the other is always down.
On reaching the house, rediff.com knocked on the shutter of the second shop. A minute later, an extremely slim man answered. "What do you want," he asked.
"Just want to talk," said this reporter and then inquired about the sisters.
"They are upstairs," the man replied.
The staircase to the first floor was two-feet wide and not lit. The room was tiny and the windows padded up with bedsheets. The only source of light is the 60-watt bulb hanging from a corner. The two middle-aged sisters appear malnourished; their hairlines receding.
"So, why did you lock yourselves up," this reported asked Dungar Singh.
"Our father married twice. He has three children from his second marriage, who are after our money. They constantly harassed us to give up our property ever since our father died in 1970. The only person who could keep them at bay was our mother. In 1997, our brother, Phool Singh died and a year later, our mother passed away. Our stepsisters wanted to snatch our property and so we decided to lock ourselves up," Dungar Singh says.
The siblings suspect that their neighbours are hand-in-glove with the stepsisters and are also after their money. They trust no one but each other and for this reason all three of them are unmarried.
The plight of the siblings came to the fore after a local NGO Amar Holistic Society for the Disabled were tipped off about this family.
"We won't tell you who informed us, because nobody in the locality knew of the sister's existence. As far as they were concerned, Dungar Singh lived alone," said Naseem Usman, a coordinator at the NGO.
"The siblings isolated themselves because they were afraid. They are not mentally challenged. They just needed some professional help," said the coordinator.
Talking about their health, Usman said, "Years of staying inside the house has made the sisters extremely weak. Their knees, elbows and other joints don't bend because of lack of movement. Their brother is in a much better condition physically because he went stepped out of the house."
Usman said that Dungar Singh cannot be blamed alone. "It was a collective decision by the siblings. Both Savitri and Vimla told us that they took the decision by themselves," she said.
The siblings are now undergoing counselling from the NGO.