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Breaking stigma, Pavlov Hospital inmates cast votes

Breaking stigma, Pavlov Hospital inmates  cast votes

Kolkata: For the first time, 54 inmates of Calcutta Pavlov Hospital cast their votes on Sunday. These voters, who were admitted to the hospital with mental illness, have completely recovered but they have been deserted by their families.

In January, hospital authorities had taken the initiative to add their names to the voters' list.

Primarily, it was decided that names of 16 inmates will be included in the voters' list.

Superintendent of Calcutta Pavlov Hospital Ganesh Prasad encouraged the inmates to make the initiative a reality.

After consulting his superiors, Prasad got in touch with the Election Commission. The Commission gave a nod when he apprised the EC officials about his plan. It was decided that Electoral Photo Identity Cards (EPIC) would be issued to the inmates in phases and a separate polling booth will be set up for them.

EC issued EPIC to 54 inmates and agreed to set up the polling booth on the Calcutta Pavlov Hospital premises to help these voters exercise their franchise. On Sunday morning, 54 inmates cast their votes and the procedure was completed by 1:30 pm.

"It is a great day for us," said Prasad. Hospital sources informed that as these inmates have not been taken back by their families they couldn't be a part of the mainstream

society even after being completely cured. Families of several inmates had provided false addresses while admitting these patients to the hospital.

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