New Delhi: The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) has come down harshly on the Delhi government’s home for the mentally challenged, Asha Kiran, after a surprise visit revealed that 11 inmates have died in the past two months.
Swati Maliwal, DCW chairperson along with DCW member Promila Gupta and other staff members, spent the night on Saturday at the shelter home and found gross violations of human rights, extremely unhygienic toilets and shortage of staff.
“Women were being made to remove their clothes in the open while being lined up for taking a bath. Shockingly, completely nude women were roaming around in the corridors,” Maliwal said.
“Moreover, the corridors of the dormitory had CCTV cameras installed which are being monitored by male staffers. The Commission saw the CCTV footage which captured mentally- challenged women roaming around nude,” Maliwal said in a statement.
The inmates were being forced to sweep, wash clothes and look after fellow boarders. At another corner, an ailing inmate force-played a masseuse and massages the legs of a woman employee, DCW noted. The commission has issued a notice to the social welfare department secretary and asked them to respond within 72 hours as the “matter is extremely serious and concerns the life and liberty of the residents”.
DCW has set up a separate inquiry committee to look into complaints against the home. Meanwhile, a report will be submitted to the government.
The deaths are a reflection of the decadence at the home where about 450 women and children were crammed into a decaying, fetid space having a sanctioned capacity of 350.
During her visit to the home, Maliwal found it extremely crowded as four persons were sharing each mattress and toilets were extremely unhygienic and shortage of staff.
It said there were no adequate blankets for the inmates in the winter season and even wheel chairs were not being used as women and children in need were crawling on the floor unattended to reach the toilets.
It found home short of doctors as only one psychiatrist visits the home and several posts of doctors were vacant.
“There was no guard stationed at the entrance of female wing,” it said.
Meanwhile, BJP has demanded the resignation of Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia who is responsible for social welfare department which looks after the home, located in Rohini. The BJP also demanded that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal should own moral responsibility of the death of the 11 children and set up a high power committee to improve the living condition at Asha Kiran Homes.
“The Delhi government is responsible for the death of 11 innocent children inmates of Asha Kiran Homes and it is now trying to evade responsibility and mislead the people,” Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari said.
“Sisodia, who is looking after the Social Welfare Department should own responsibility for the death of 11 children at Asha Kiran Homes and resign,” he added.
“Had Sisodia acted fast after the first death was reported may be other children could have been saved,” Tiwari alleged.
(With Agency Inputs)