February 6, 2017 2:29:36 am
The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) carried out a surprise inspection Saturday of the Asha Kiran home for mentally challenged persons in Rohini, and observed that the premises had “dirty toilets, nude inmates and mentally challenged persons crawling on the floor”, among other things.
DCW chairperson Swati Maliwal and other staff members visited the home on Saturday night and issued a notice to the secretary, Social Welfare, of the Delhi government.
Citing observations from the visit to the Asha Kiran home, the commission wrote in its notice that each mattress in the home was occupied by four inmates.
“Shockingly, completely nude women were roaming around in the corridors. Moreover, the corridors of the dormitory had CCTV cameras installed which are being monitored by male staff,” the DCW noted.
The commission observed that the home was severely short-staffed with just one attendant in a dormitory housing as many as 153 inmates.
“Mentally challenged residents were being made to sweep, clean clothes and assist in daily chores, as well as look after other residents. In Cottage No 1, the first cottage that the commission visited, it was observed that a staff member was getting her legs pressed by a mentally challenged resident,” the DCW said.
The commission added, “It was observed that wheelchairs were not being used in the home. The commission witnessed several women and children crawling on the floor to reach the toilets unattended.”
The commission was also informed that 11 deaths had occurred in the home in the last two months.
Asking the secretary, Social Welfare, to reply to the notice within 72 hours, the DCW chairperson said that “the matter is extremely serious and concerns the life and liberty of the residents”.
The commission asked if the secretary was aware of the conditions at Asha Kiran and what measures it had taken to rectify them.
In January, 2015, The Indian Express had reported that an RTI reply showed a record 51 deaths were reported from the home in 2014 — a 76 per cent increase from the 29 deaths reported
This was also the highest number of deaths reported in the home in a year since 2005-06, when 59 inmates had died.
In 2010, the Delhi government had appointed a five-member committee to probe the deaths in the home after the National Human Rights Commission had taken cognisance of the matter.
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