Activists protest deaths at home for mentally


New Delhi: Nearly 150 people, mostly rights activists and members of NGOs, Tuesday protested the government’s apathy towards the maintenance of a home for the mentally challenged, where several deaths and human rights violations were reported in the past month.

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They demanded action and even offered their help to the government.

“If the Delhi government doesn’t have resources, they should give us (NGOs) permission to take care of the Asha Kiran home at Rohini. There have over 20 deaths of inmates at the place over the past few months,” said Javed Abidi, director of National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP).

“We are ready for any kind of work and will provide all possible help too. This issue is serious and we need to act soon,” he added.

Representatives from several NGOs like NCPEDP, Deepalaya, Anandini and civil society held a candle-light protest at Jantar Mantar Tuesday against the deaths. People on wheelchairs also joined the protest.

The protesters alleged that despite being hauled up by courts and in reports by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the Delhi Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) and the Public Grievances Committee, the Delhi government and its social welfare department have taken no action to improve the condition of inmates.

“We want the Delhi government to act. The Asha Kiran home needs to be decongested, hygienic food needs to be provided and they (inmates) must be treated with respect like normal people,” Abidi added.

Shabnam Aggarwal, founder director of NGO Anandnini, said it was high time people with mental disability were properly treated and cared for at government-run homes.

“The spate of deaths resulting from gross violation of human rights cannot be tolerated. We can’t wait for another death or a report, immediate action is needed,” Aggarwal told IANS.

Javed added said that if in future any person at the home dies, “the Delhi government would be responsible”.