Burqa-clad sisters could be charged under Mental Illness Act
HYDERABAD: A day after two burqa-clad sisters, both allegedly schizophrenics, were arrested for vandalising a Mother Mary statue and an idol of Goddess Durga, the Saifabad police said on Wednesday that they were awaiting medical reports from doctors at the Erragadda mental hospital.
If it is determined that both sisters were mentally ill, they could face charges under the Mental Illness Act.
The two sisters, commerce graduates from Jeddah who reside in Masab Tank, broke into the temple and attempted to destroy the idol with a spanner and a hammer. They later vandalised Jesus Christ and Mother Mary statues at the Rock Church in Veeranagar, Chintalbasti.
Locals apprehended the two sisters and handed them over to Saifabad police. The police arrested the sisters from their home around 5 pm on Tuesday. Their mother resisted arrest and one of the girls bit a female constable and a male constable, sources said.
The police arrested them and charged them with sections of the Indian Penal Code dealing with provocation for causing riots, defiling place of worship, deliberate act to outrage religious feelings, trespass and provocation. They were referred to Osmania General Hospital (OGH), which then referred them to Erragadda mental hospital.
“Doctors at Erragadda mental hospital admit the patient, study their mental history and then issue a certificate. We're probing from all angles and waiting for confirmation from the Erragadda mental hospital,” said Saifabad inspector K. Sattaiah.
The family’s neighbours in Masab Tank claimed that the sisters exhibited abnormal behaviour. According to one Mohammed Sarfaraz, the girls' father was advised by their psychiatrist to admit them to a hospital but they were kept locked in a separate room, away from mobile phones and television and not allowed to meet strangers, he said.
According to police, they came out because their father, who is said to be ill and bedridden, forgot to lock the main gate on Tuesday morning. "We were aware of the family. We saw the sisters on the road for the first time. They knew very little Urdu or Telugu. They speak English and Arabic fluently because they were raised in Jeddah,” said Siraj Hussain, another local.
“The girls as well as their mother are aggressive. She sometimes knocks on our door for a long time and abuses us in English or Arabic. Everyone in the neighbourhood is aware that the family is in distress, Naveeda Bilquis, a neighbour said.