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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 July 2007, 17:36 GMT 18:36 UK
India grandmother 'dumped on tip'
Authorities in India's southern Tamil Nadu state plan legal action against the relatives of an elderly woman who was found abandoned on a rubbish tip.

Chinnammal Palaniappan, who is thought to be 75, told locals who found her she was driven miles from home in a cattle feed cart and dumped by family members.

She is in the care of local officials while they try to trace her relatives.

Tamil Nadu state Social Welfare Minister Dr Poongothai told the BBC she was "horrified" at the news.

There was no anger in her, only a flood of sorrow as she begged us to take her back to her daughter
Rescuer P Mohanasundari

"Once we know who the family members are we are going to take legal action against them," Dr Poongothai told the BBC Tamil service.

She said she believed the woman was partially deaf and had not been fed properly for three days.

"She is under the custody of the state at the moment, and she is being looked after. The police are trying to talk to her."


Locals in Erode district of the state told the AFP news agency of their horror at finding the ill woman lying amidst rotting garbage.

"We heard some moaning from the dump yard and when we went over we were shocked to find an old shrivelled woman lying in filth," housewife P Mohanasundari said.

She and her husband took the woman home and fed her before alerting charity workers.

"Chinnammal broke down recalling how her grandsons put her in their motorcart, which they used for transporting cattle feed, and drove a long distance before dumping her in garbage," Mohanasundari told AFP.

She said the grandmother had recalled how her daughter told her grandsons to leave her far away, so she would not be able to find her way home.

"There was no anger in her, only a flood of sorrow as she begged us to take her back to her daughter," Mohanasundari said.


Elderly people have traditionally been looked after by their families in India, although this is starting to change with the pressures of modern life.

Dr Poongothai conceded that social change was making old people more vulnerable.

But she said the law was clear and if children did not take responsibility for looking after their old parents they could be in breach of the domestic violence act and prosecuted.

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