When fact is worse than fiction: ‘Mowgli girl’ story untrue for all the wrong reasons

When fact is worse than fiction: ‘Mowgli girl’ story untrue for all the wrong reasons
A widely-published story regarding an eight-year-old girl who was found in a wildlife sanctuary in northern India and was allegedly raised by a colony of monkeys has now been debunked as untrue, but the truth is even more tragic, it seems.

The child was discovered by police at the side of a road with a colony of monkeys nearby which led rescuers, and the media, to believe that she had been raised by them.

She exhibited violent behavior in reaction to human contact and was unable to speak or communicate effectively, leading healthcare professionals to the conclusion that this was a case of a feral child raised in the wild by animals.

Or so everyone believed when the story first broke.

Police superintendent Dinesh Tripathi spoke to the New Indian Express and speculated that it appeared as though the girl had been living in the wild “since birth.”

However, forestry officer JP Singh came forward in the aftermath of the story’s publication to dispute such claims, speaking with the British media.

“I think the family members of this girl had been aware that she is not able to speak, and they may have abandoned her near the forest road,” he said.

“If she was living with monkeys it would have been for a few days only, not for a long time,” he added.

D.K. Singh, the chief medical officer of the hospital where the girl was treated, also disputed such claims.

“In India, people do not prefer a female child and she is mentally not sound, so all the more [evidence] she was left there,” he said, as cited by The Independent.

The chief medical officer of the district of Bahraich, Ankur Lal, told reporters that he believes the symptoms of the girl’s mental and physical illnesses led her family to abandon her and rescuers to mistakenly believe that she had been raised in the wild.

The girl has been taken to a children’s home in the city of Lucknow for ongoing treatment and long term care.