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Bithi Akhtar (right) being reunited with her mother Safia Begum at Agartala-Akhaura ICP on Wednesday
Bithi Akhtar (right) being reunited with her mother Safia Begum at Agartala-Akhaura ICP on Wednesday|EastMojo Image
TRIPURA

Mentally-ill Bangladeshi girl reunited with mother after 9 years

Bithi Akhtar, a chronic schizophrenia patient, went missing from her native Pachuria village in Narail district in 2010; was undergoing treatment at an Agartala hospital

Chandan Panday

Chandan Panday

Agartala: Almost a decade after losing her way from Pachuria village in Narail district of Bangladesh, Bithi Akhtar was finally reunited with her mother Safia Begam at the Agartala-Akhaura Integrated Check Post in Agartala, Tripura on Wednesday.

Akhtar (28) went missing from her village in 2010. Two years later, she was detained at Kamalpur in Dhalai district by Tripura police in 2012 for illegally entering India. Later, after being produced in the court, she was sent for her treatment to Agartala Modern Psychiatric Hospital.

Akhtar is suffering from ‘chronic schizophrenia’ and was being treated at Modern Psychiatric Hospital in Agartala for the last seven years.

Speaking with reporters on Wednesday, Akhtar said that she somehow lost her way and boarded a train in Dhaka to reach Tripura nine years ago.

“Nobody from my family was aware of my presence in Tripura. I have no idea how I reached here in Tripura. I missed my ammu (mother) and abbu (father) back there in Bangladesh. It’s been a long years I didn’t see them. I am really thankful to the people of Tripura that they helped me and save my life. I am very happy and eager to see my ammu,” she said.

She also said that she cried a lot when she came to know that her family members were searching for her for the last nine years.

A senior doctor of Modern Psychiatric Hospital, Dr Jotinmoy Ghosh, said that Akhtar was detained seven years ago at Kamalpur in Dhalai district Tripura after she illegally entered the Indian territory.

“She was detained by police at Salema Police station in Kamalpur in 2012. The court after the hearing had sent her to hospital and she was admitted as an unknown patient in March 2012. After the treatment started and she started gaining her memories. We got to know her name as Bithi Akhter. She was suffering from chronic schizophrenia when she was admitted to our hospital. Over the years, she has recovered 80-90% of the disease. She will be sent back to her family in Bangladesh today,” Ghosh added.

He also said schizophrenia is a chronic and severe mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves.

“There are 18 other such people currently under treatment at the hospital, including eight men and 10 women. Most of them have recovered and are waiting to be reunited with their families in Bangladesh. We are trying to collect their address,” he said.

Safia Begum, Akhtar’s mother, was at the Agartala-Akhaura International Check Post (ICP) on Wednesday morning to receive her. She was handed over to her family after fulfilling official formalities.

“Bithi is the youngest child of our family. She was suffering from mental illness. How she reached Tripura from Bangladesh we don’t have any idea. We have spent a lot of money to find her but we failed. We are very happy to have our daughter back after all these years. We thank the Indian government for treating her and sending her back. Now, I can take a deep breath with a sense of relief,” Safia Begum said.

The Bangladesh High Commissioner here, Kiriti Chakma, said that when they heard the news of Bithi, they immediately started working to find her relatives with the help of both the countries. Three months back, they found the address of Bithi, Chakma added.