Abandoned by children, elderly couple fasts for justice


    Pune, (IANS) Harassed, tortured and abandoned by their children, an ailing elderly couple sat on a hunger strike for four days demanding justice before police intervened and the couple smilingly went back home to their village in Maharashtra.

    The couple – Waman D. Sonawane, 75, and wife Tarru, 71 – sat on the pavement outside the sub-district office in Shirur Tuesday and ended their indefinite strike friday.

    Speaking to reporters, the duo said they had divided their farmland and other belongings and handed over every thing to their two sons — Ramesh and Dattatray — a few years ago.

    “After that, our life became miserable. Our sons made us live separately and forced us to go out and work. At our age, it was not possible for us to do any hard work or manual labour. We feel ashamed to have such unworthy children,” Waman said with tears streaming down his cheeks.

    Tarru, also is tears, said they made several attempts to get justice from their village Shirasgaonkata, but the gram panchayat ignored their plight.

    “Many times they did not give us food. Even what they gave was barely sufficient to fill our stomachs. We were forced to sit on a hunger strike in public because the village panchayat did not bother to listen to us and take action against our children under the harassment laws,” Tarru said.

    The local media coverage finally moved the police to summon the two sons.

    When questioned on their parents’ plight, the two first blamed each other and then reportedly said they could not afford to look after them.

    The police checked their financial status and found that they could jointly look after their parents.

    “The two have now agreed to contribute Rs.1,500 each per month and deposit the amount in a local bank account in their parents names. The parents, who live separately in another house, would look after themselves and lead a comfortable life,” police inspector Shirur Ashok Kshirsagar told IANS.

    The police have warned the two sons against any further harassment.

    Following the amicable settlement, the Sonawane couple wearily smiled before a large crowd which sympathised with them, called off their hunger strike and returned to their village, around 60 km from here.