Security guards not allowing food to be taken into campus for past three days
For the past three evenings, security guards at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi are not allowing free food to be taken into the campus to be distributed to inmates of the homeless night shelter that has been functioning since January 13. And no one knows why!
The night shelter has been a boon for outstation patients of AIIMS and their relatives who earlier used to sleep out in the open while waiting for OPD consultation and treatment. The Hindu had reported on August 30 how over 75,000 persons had stayed at the shelter since it opened eight months ago.
SPYM programme co-ordinator Nitesh Kumar said after food was not allowed to go in on Wednesday and Thursday, ISKCON, which has been preparing the food for 500 people daily, stopped the supply on Friday. They wanted the issue to be resolved with AIIMS authorities before restarting.
However, AIIMS spokesperson Y.K. Gupta said no AIIMS authority had ordered the stopping of food from entering the campus. He said he could not understand why anybody would object to free meals being served. The shelter has continued to function past the winter months at a spacious 6,500 square feet facility near the OPD unit thanks to intervention of the courts which took a dim view of patients being forced to sleep in the open.
An average of 340 people stay daily at the shelter. Inmates are registered for stay at the shelter based on their OPD card issued by AIIMS. Up to three relatives are allowed to stay with the patient. Mr. Kumar said he plans to speak to Dr. Gupta on Saturday. “I will visit AIIMS at noon and speak to the security guards posted at the entrance to ascertain if they intended to block the food on Saturday too. Only then will I call up ISKCON and ask for delivery of food in the evening. They are upset about the food that was wasted because of the blockade and that is why they did not deliver it on Friday.”
Keywords: AIIMS night shelter