Some of them seem to have been abandoned by their relatives

Scores of mentally challenged people can be seen wandering on the streets of the district headquarters and the border and industrial town of Hosur.

Neither the social welfare department nor the police take custody of these people, some of whom seem to have been deliberately abandoned or who have left home of their own accord.

They have not been admit to licensed psychiatric hospitals or nursing homes nearby after obtaining orders from judicial magistrates concerned, says social activists.

People have noticed a middle-aged woman wandering on the Krishnagiri-Kuppam National Highway near Kattinayanapalli Panchayat for a week.

When asked for information, she said her name was Mary but did not disclose any other details.

Her legs were chained and it is not known whether she was escaped from a psychiatric home. She does not understand the local language.

She was being fed by the local people on a regular basis and slept on the roadside, braving the chilly weather.

A few days ago, a mentally challenged woman in Hosur town who was sexually abused by anti-social elements was delivered of a male baby on the way to the Government Hospital in Hosur in a 108 ambulance.

Admitted

Hosur Municipality staff came to the rescue of the woman and admitted her at to a home for the mentally challenged ‘Vatsalayam’ on Thally Road in Hosur.

The woman went into labour on Tuesday and was immediately shifted to the hospital but gave birth to a boy on the way to the hospital in the ambulance.

M. Imtiaz Ahmed, District Differently-abled Welfare Officer told The Hindu that rehabilitation of mentally challenged people could not be the sole responsibility of the department staff.

It was for the public and members of non-governmental organisations to inform the nearest police station as soon as they found a mentally challenged man or woman wandering on the streets.

In turn, the police have to take custody of the mentally challenged persons, produce them before a magistrate, admit them in a government hospital and provide information to the District Differently-abled Welfare Officer.

The officials of the department will take charge of the mentally challenged people and admit them in government-recognized homes.

It would take at least three to six months to know the history of the mentally challenged people.

Most of the mentally challenged people who are wandering in Krishnagiri and Hosur speak Telugu, Kannada or Tamil.

Mr. Ahmed said that lack of homes for mentally challenged men was a problem for the district.

Women are admitted at the Vatsalayaam in Hosur.

Rehabilitated

As many as 20 people were rehabilitated during 2010, and five people during 2011, he said.

It was also alleged that most of them had been abandoned by their family members and left on the streets. They had been brought from Hosur and surrounding areas.

People who notice mentally challenged people wandering on the streets can inform the District Differently-abled Welfare Officer M. Imtiaz Ahmed over his mobile 96770-48481 or contact the nearest police station, he said.

According to the Mental Health Act, 1987, “The wanton neglect of the police officers is tantamount to abuse of the process of law and violation of human rights.”

The General Assembly of the United Nations Organisation had passed a resolution on December 20, 1971, proclaiming certain declarations on rights of the mentally challenged and called for cooperation from all member-nations to support persons living with disabilities in exercising their right to economic security and decent standard of living.

The resolution also states that the mentally challenged should be given assistance by the State.

“As India is a signatory to the declaration of the UNO, strict observance to the proclamation by the State is quintessential.

Further, in a welfare State, the primary duty of the government is to secure the welfare of the people,” said a social activist here.

Rehabilitation of persons who were living with disabilities was an integral part of Article 21 (right to life) of the Indian Constitution, the social activist said further.


  • Some of the mentally-challenged people seem to have left home of their own accord

  • These people have not been under psychiatric care, say social activists


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