In a shocking incident, a Gurgaon-based woman not only locked herself and her 10-year-old son in their house for 3 years to avoid COVID-19, but also didn’t let her husband in. The incident highlights the mental health impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the need for mental health support for individuals and families affected by it.
The 33-year-old woman and her 10-year-old son were rescued from their apartment in Gurugram, India, after being locked inside for three years due to the mother’s fear of COVID-19. The woman’s husband, an engineer with a private company, approached the police after he was not allowed back into the apartment, and he had been providing for his family by leaving rent, bills, and groceries outside the door.
The police initially did not believe the husband’s account but were shocked to find piles of garbage, clothes, and empty grocery packets inside the apartment, which had not been thrown out for three years.
The woman, Munmun Majhi, had refused to let her son leave the apartment due to her fear that he would contract COVID-19 and die immediately. The boy had not seen anyone other than his mother for three years and had been drawing and writing on the walls.
The Facts of the Matter
On Tuesday, February 21, a woman and her 10-year-old child were brought out of confinement by police in Maruti Kunj, India. The duo had been locked inside their home for three years to avoid contracting COVID-19. The police, health officials, and members of the child welfare department had to break open the main door of the house to bring them out.
Haryana | A woman in Gurugram locked herself & her son in an apartment for 3 years due to "fear of covid", didn't let her husband enter the apartment; woman & child were finally rescued (22.02) pic.twitter.com/iJexqD8pK5
— ANI (@ANI) February 22, 2023
Husband Not Allowed in Home, Stayed in Contact Through VC
During their three years of isolation, Munmun Majhi did not allow her husband, Sujan Majhi, into the house after he once stepped out to go to the office when restrictions were partially lifted following the first COVID-induced lockdown in 2020.
Sujan is an engineer with a private company. He initially spent time with friends and relatives, but after several failed attempts to persuade Munmun, he rented a house for himself in the same locality. Sujan maintained contact with his family through video calls.
Wife Refused to Budge or be Reasoned
Despite Sujan’s efforts to convince Munmun to allow him inside the house or come out, she refused to budge. Even Munmun’s in-laws and parents tried to reason with her, but to no avail.
Munmun’s only condition was that she would remain in lockdown until a Covid vaccine for kids became available. Currently, there is no vaccine for children under 12 years old, and Munmun’s son is 10. Sujan took care of all the bills and supplies to ensure his family’s well-being.
Out of Fear of Replacing Gas Cylinder, Woman Stopped Using Gas
Munmun had cut off contact with most of her relatives over the years, but she allowed her son to use a smartphone for online classes. She even stopped using cooking gas because it required replacing the cylinder and switched to an induction heater instead. When the cops entered the woman’s home, they saw that the son had been drawing on the walls to maintain his sanity.
Meanwhile, all other attempts to reason with Munmun failed, Sujan approached the police. At first, the police did not take the matter seriously as it was a family issue and did not involve any illegal activities. However, after speaking with Sujan and seeing the child’s distress over video call, the police decided to intervene.
The Ultimate Rescue
The police, along with health officials and members of the child welfare department and an NGO, went to Munmun’s house, but talks did not make much progress. The team had to make a hasty retreat after Munmun threatened to kill her son and commit suicide.
However, the team returned the next morning and tried to counsel Munmun once again. After nearly two hours, they had to break open the door to rescue the mother-son duo. They were then taken to the Civil Hospital for a health check.