Recently, the internet was flooded with a story of a young girl who was discovered living in a dense forest in India, and was raised by the monkeys. People were comparing the girl’s plight with the children’s fantasy drama Jungle Book.
The young girl was found in Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary located in Bahraich North, India. She was later treated at a nearby hospital. The doctors and the investigators who gained her trust say there is darker truth at play, however.
The eight-year-old has no name and the whereabouts of her family or guardians are unknown. The police who found her say she was seen with several monkeys when she was found; she was also screeching like them as well as trying to walk with both her hands and feet.
One of the officers stated that they had to fight the monkeys while rescuing the girl.
The police overseeing the investigation say the young girl has physical as well as mental deformations. The investigators further stated the girl was likely recently abandoned in the forest by her parents.
According to the police, she was discovered near the roadside areas of the forest. They also said there were monkeys in her area but she wasn’t part of their group.
JP Singh, one of the police officers investigating the case, said the people who abandoned her were aware of the 8-year-old’s inability to speak, saying this is why they likely left her in the forest. Even if she had been living with the monkeys, Singh said, it was only for a few days.
Dr Dinesh Singh, the Chief Medical Officer in the hospital where the girl is receiving treatment, says people in India prefer male children; this might be one reason to leave her. He further said the added factor of her mental and physical health would see her as a liability to the family.
Ankur Lal, the Chief Medical Officer for the Bahraich district, said her behaviour is under strict observation. Over time, they’ve come to realise that the girl was not raised by the monkeys, and that the abandonment is only recent.
When she arrived at the hospital, she would crawl. Only after care was she walking like a normal person. The movements she makes are similar to a child raised in a home. These signs have helped experts establish she didn’t grow up in the jungle.
The director at the Centre for Social Research, Ranjana Kumari, who also fights for the rights of women, said the girl was left by her family in the forest because they refused to take responsibility for her needs. She said many families in India value females less than males because society makes it difficult for them. They are haunted by the future prospects of the girl – who will marry her – and even if she gets married who will pay for the expense of the marriage?
However, a man has since come forward saying this is his niece who was lost almost a year ago. The authorities say a proper investigation will be conducted before action is taken against the family.
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