Asha Kiran and the plight of mentally challenged in India


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I was travelling in the bus along with my husband today morning when we heard an old beggar yelling bad words in extreme rage and fury. He was standing so close to our bus that I felt he would ram into it.

We don’t have too many people working for the rehabilitation for people who face psychological and mental issues. And to my utter disappointment and shock today, I read an article about Asha Kiran, home for the mentally challenged where 11 inmates died in last 2 months.

Government’s social welfare department, Delhi Commission for Women conducted a surprise inspection at the home and found some disgusting and shameful facts.

What a SHAME?

Women were found roaming naked in the corridors. Women had to remove their clothes in the open before lining up for bath. This was being monitored by  male staff as there were CCTV camera installed in there.

Patients are exploited and made to clean toilets

Four people occupied one bed.

Toilets were stinking and filthy. Excreta and urine were all over the corridors.

Rooms were stinking as the patients relieved themselves there and no one was cleaning their beds and the rooms.

Mentally challenged residents  were forced to sweep, assist in daily chores and also clean clothes.

A staffer had a mentally challenged inmate to press her legs.

Wheel chairs weren’t made available so women and children crawled on the floor while going to the toilet.

No clinical psychologist was found at the home when the inspection was conducted. Only one psychiatrist visited Asha Kiran twice a week for only a few hours.

No guards were stationed at the women’s wing.

This is the second time that the government has noticed issues at Asha Kiran. In 2010, Delhi high court asked the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights to investigate the violations at Asha Kiran.

A committee will investigate the matter and submit a report to the government.

Why would anyone treat them so terribly?

If the government has failed to investigate these atrocities for years together then it only reflects upon the priority our government places on the matters of mentally challenged individuals.

India lacks education and empathy towards the mentally challenged. When are we going to stop treating them as lesser human beings and learn about their challenges?


Times of India


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