NHRC asks govt. about steps taken to help the mentally ill

‘Home Ministry must take steps to protect those on streets’

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Friday asked the Union Ministry of Home Affairs to address the concerns of the mentally ill on the streets during the lockdown to check the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The NHRC took cognisance of a complaint about the alleged violation of the human rights of such people and asked the Ministry to inform it, within two weeks, of the arrangements made for them.

“In the meantime, necessary directions may be issued by them [the Ministry] to all the States and Union Territories to ensure that persons suffering from any kind of mental ailment under their jurisdiction are provided with proper counselling towards necessary precautions for their personal care and protection from the virus and not deprived of basic amenities like food, shelter and medical care etc.,” a statement from the NHRC said.

The NHRC said that while the Central and State governments were trying to provide food and health services during the crisis, some sections, like those suffering from mental illness, should be provided food, shelter and social security by the state.

Dependent on charities

It said the complaint highlighted the issue of mentally ill persons dependent for food and shelter on charities, temples and gurdwaras. “But the administration has not issued any specific guidelines for these people, and no arrangements for their survival during this period of crisis have been made,” the NHRC said.

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