Gross human rights violations in govt-run mental asylum: DCW

In the past two months, 11 residents at Asha Kiran, a government-run shelter in Rohini for mentally ill people, have died.

The revelation comes after the Delhi Commission for Women chairperson Swati Maliwal, along with her team, spent a night at the facility after the commission received several complaints.

“At Asha Kiran, there is gross human rights violations. In October, three residents had died. And in the last two months, 11 residents have died,” said Ms Maliwal.

Explaining the situation of the facility, Ms. Maliwal said that four women were sharing a bed; there were not enough blankets for the residents, and wheel chairs were not being used even as women and children in need were crawling on the floor unattended.

‘Only one psychiatrist’

“There is only one psychiatrist, who visits the home and several posts of doctors are vacant. There was no guard stationed at the entrance of the female wing,” she said.

In the morning, as many of the residents are bedridden, they urinate on their beds and faecal matter is littered on the floor.

“Some menstruating women were not given any sanitary napkins and there was blood on the floor. The stench was unbearable,” she said.

‘Women roam around naked’

She added that women roam naked in the corridors as no one is there to take care of them and since there are CCTVs in the facilities, male staff monitor the feed.

“Women were being made to remove their clothes in the open while being lined up to give them a bath. Women were roaming the corridors naked. Moreover, the corridors of the dormitory had CCTV cameras installed. The Commission saw the CCTV footage of mentally-challenged women roaming around naked,” she said.

Disturbed by the condition of the facility, the DCW has issued a notice to the Secretary of the Delhi government’s Social Welfare Department to respond within 72 hours as the “matter is extremely serious and concerns the life and liberty of the residents”.

State’s responsibility

In its notice, the DCW said: “It is to be remembered that the State has a huge responsibility to look after the mentally-challenged people. The State needs to make special efforts to look after them as at times they are unable to share and communicate like others.”

It has also set up an inquiry into the condition of the home and asked the Social Welfare secretary to give it data on the deaths in the home in the last one year.

It has also asked whether the department’s senior officials were aware of the problems and about the action taken by them to rectify it.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2022 9:21:33 PM |

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