Rest of Asia

India: Woman missing for 11 years, found hiding in lover's home

Web report/Palakkad
Filed on June 10, 2021
Alamy photo used for illustrative purpose

Couple had kept their relationship a secret as they were from different religions and were afraid of reaction from families

For 11 years, she struggled in a small room, barely 500 metres from her parent’s home in Ayalur village near Palakkad in Kerala, living with a man she was in love with.

When she was 18, Sajitha went missing, and her parents gave up hope of ever finding her. But she lived nearby with Alinchuvattil Rahman, a painter, and no one knew of her presence. After she left her home in February 2010, her parents informed the police who searched everywhere, but could not find her.

On Tuesday, Rahman’s elder brother Basheer accidentally met him after he had suddenly gone missing from his home about three months ago. He found Rahman and Sajitha living together in another village. The police produced them in a court, which let them live together after Sajitha said she wanted to be with Rahman.

Deepa Kumar, the local police officer, told a newspaper that they had kept their relationship secret as they were from different religions and were afraid of the reaction from their families. “Their story sounds unusual, but we took the couple to Rahman’s house and they told us how Sajitha had lived secretly in a single room for all these years,” said Kumar.

Rahman had a separate room, but all these years kept it locked and never let anyone enter. “Sometimes he behaved like a mentally deranged person, would turn violent if someone tried to get into his room,” said Basheer.

“He would even take his food in to eat.”

Some neighbours too felt that he was an introvert and could have had mental problems. Rahman had removed some bars from his window to enable Sajitha to use the toilet outside the room when no one would notice her at night. She had a small TV to keep herself busy through the day. About three months ago, Rahman had a fight with his family and moved out to another village along with Sajitha.

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