Trouble broke out at the Jatiya Jaradhi Sansad,a home for the mentally-challenged boys situated at Haridebpur in Baruipur,South 24 Parganas,after a 17-year-old died allegedly of chronic malnutrition leading to cardio-respiratory failure.
The woman who runs the shelter home,however,denied the charge but admitted she was short on funds.
An employee said two other boys had died in the past as well in similar circumstances.
While a final report from the hospital is awaited,the police have detained the superintendent of the home,Nirapada Porle,and registered a case. Some more employees are being questioned. The boy,Sarat,died at the Baruipur sub-divisional hospital on Sunday night.
The home,which is affiliated to the State and Central governments,is run by one Tripti Mitra,against whom there have been allegations of non-payement of salaries to the staff. As the news spread,locals gathered outside the home on Monday and started shouting slogans before the local MLA reached the spot.
Sources saad currently there are 31 mentally challenged boys at the home. Sarat was admitted here nearly two years ago and had been suffering from acute malnutrition for the past one-and-half years. He was admitted to the hospital on Sunday after his condition deteriorated. Sarat died around 8.15 pm.
Baruipur MLA Rahul Ghosh,who visited the home,said,It is pathetic that the boy died of malnutrition. There are others at home who are affected. We would try to rehabilitate them in a better home, Ghosh said.
Abijeet Haldar,a yoga teacher at the home,said many of the staff had been working at the shelter home without salary for the past three years. We used to distribute only 100 gram of rice among the children. Two other boys died in this home in the recent past. We reported the matter to the local panchayet office and Tripti Mitra but nothing was done, he added.
BDO of the area,Abdul Goni,said,We will send a report to the DM soon. Mitra denied the allegation saying,I visit the home regularly and it is true that I failed to pay the staff regularly, she said.