The Delhi Commission for Women on Saturday decried 11 deaths that have taken place in the last two months at the Asha Kiran Home, a psychiatric facility in the national Capital. The revelation came after DCW chief Swati Maliwal and other staff members carried out a surprise inspection at the home, where they said they were “disturbed” by its inhuman living conditions, PTI reported.
The Commission has issued a notice to the secretary of the Delhi government’s Social Welfare department to respond within 72 hours. It also asked for the number of the deaths in the government-run shelter in the last year and launched an inquiry.
Maliwal claimed women patients were made to take off their clothes and move around naked. “The corridors of the dormitory had CCTV cameras installed which are being monitored by male staffers,” she said. “There are gross human rights violations,” she said.
The commission also found that home was overcrowded, with four people sharing one mattress, and that women and children were being forced to crawl to the toilets as wheelchairs were not being used. The commission said menstruating women were not being provided with sanitary provisions, and that the residents were being made to sweep and carry out other daily chores, reported The Times of India.
The Commission also observed that there was only one woman deputed to look after 153 residents. Only one psychiatrist visits the facility and other posts of doctors were vacant, Maliwal said.
The DCW in its notice reminded the state that it is its responsibility to look after the mentally-ill. “The state needs to make special efforts to look after them as at times they are unable to share and communicate,” the notice read.
A query under the Right to Information Act revealed in January 2015, that 51 inmates died at the home in 2014, while 29 deaths were reported in 2013, The Indian Express reported. The Delhi government had appointed a five-member committee to look into the deaths in 2010.