Swati Maliwal, Chairperson, Delhi Commission for Women, along with her team members, undertook a surprise visit to Asha Kiran Home for Mentally Disabled Persons on Saturday night.
Maliwal and her team, after staying in the house overnight, have issued a notice to the Secretary, Social Welfare, Delhi government, about the pitiable condition of the house and the problems being faced by the residents. The condition of the house was found to be extremely disappointing with 11 deaths having taken place in the past 2 months. The commission has asked for the details of these 11 residents, which include the cause of their death, their medical record and the post mortem reports.
The commission observed that the house was overcrowded with up to four children and women accommodated on a single mattress. Also, theconditions in which the residents live were acutely unhygienic and stinking as the residents relieved themselves many times in the rooms itself.The toilets and corridors were having urine and stool lying everywhere.
Severe violation of human rights was also witnessed as women were made to remove their clothes in the open while being lined up for bath. Women were also seen roaming completely bare in the corridors of the dormitory which had CCTV cameras installed, and monitored by the staff.
Practices which engaged mentally challenged women doing odd jobs were also observed by the DCW team.
"We met a resident in the SHMR Dormitory who appeared to be normal. The resident told us that she was made to wash clothes, sweep andfeed medicines to other paitents of the house," said a DCW official.
The condition of women and children was found to be worse. With no wheel-chairs provided, children and women were seen crawling on thefloor unattended to reach the toilets. Also, dormitories for adult women did not have western style toilets posing further difficulty for the residents.
Notably, the medical unit of the Asha Kiran Home was reportedly very poor. The Clinical Psychologist posted in the house has retired in November and since then, there is no psychologist stationed at the house. Also, only one psychologist visited the house twice a week and the beds of the medical care unit were damaged.
The notice stated that women and child security was completely absent as no guard was stationed at the entrance of the female wing, allowing the risk of male members entering the wing without any notice.
Meanwhile, shortage of staff was observed as bed-ridden children and adults were left uncared. There were no fixed timings for providing food and specially eggs to the inmates.
The notice also stated that the infrastructure of the house needs immediate attention. The condition of the women and children is so bad that they are not even provided mattresses to sleep on. An absence of sources of recreation or learning in the dormitories and absence of counsellors were noticed.
The commission has asked for a point-wise reply from the Department of Social Welfare within 72 hours.