NHRC seeks help for release of mental patient from murder case

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Vadodara, Oct 17 (UNI) A mentally challenged man, who was accused of killing his mother 34 years ago, is likely to get discharged from the case, with a city-based mental hospital and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) coming to his rescue.

Barkiya Ramji Gimabhalbha (55), a resident of Velu village in the Union Territory of Dadar and Nagar Haveli, was arrested on September 29, 1974, for allegedly killing his mother, Gangu, with an axe for not giving him food on time.

The accused was subsequently chargesheeted for brutally killing his mother, but the case trial could not be taken up during the last 34 years, as he developed mental problem in judicial custody.

Though the ailing Barkiya's custody was initially given to one of his relatives in Silvasa on the direction of a local court, he was surrendered back to the court after his mental condition further deteriorated.

After being treated in Silvala, Surat and Vadodara hospitals, Barkiya was finally admitted to the state-run Hospital for Mental Health here in December, 2003. But only after a team of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) came to know about the undertrial prisoner-patient's plight during a visit to the hospital in July, did hospital superintendent Dr Rakesh Shah write a letter to the Union Home Minister requesting him to withdraw the criminal charges against Barkiya, as the patient, suffering from chronic schizophrenia, had no chance of getting ''fit to Stand Trial Certificate'' to face the 34-year-old case.

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