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Psychiatric Hospital Jammu expresses reluctance to admit 4 patients
Amid COVID-19 lockdown, lives of mentally challenged destitute turns more pathetic
4/7/2020 12:25:51 AM


JAMMU, Apr 6: Amid Covid-19 lockdown and restrictions across the country, apart from the frontline workers, dozens of mentally challenged destitute are also performing their normal routines but the challenge of getting food has amplified manifolds for them in view of the closing of eateries, Dhabas, shops, vendors from where they usually get food. Though some volunteers are doing a great job of providing food to the silent voices such as stray canines, cattle and mentally challenged destitute but there seems no effort from the government institutions, meant for them. For the last many days, one such volunteer Om Parkash Khajuria has been distributing food among the mentally challenged destitute in various parts of Jammu. Also a Human Rights activist, Khajuria has repeatedly taken up the matter of mentally challenged with Human Rights Commission, Police and administration officials for the welfare of these destitute.
While distributing the food among mentally challenged destitute, Khajuria said that he found the condition of three mentally challenged destitute women more vulnerable. As per the Mental Health Act 1987, these people have right to live with dignity but in Jammu most of them are leading a pathetic life, in total contravention to the laid guidelines.
“Apart from other rights, the government is duty bound to provide them wholesome food, sanitation, space and access to articles of personal hygiene, in particular women’s personal hygiene as well as providing access to items required during menstruation”, Khajuria said, adding that but these laws were not implemented by the respected quarters, leaving these people to live an animal existence.
He filed an application before Sub Divisional Magistrate RS Pura, who directed the SHO RS Pura to shift the three women and a destitute girl (4-5 years old) with them to Psychiatric hospital.
The staff at Jammu Psychiatric hospital initially refused to admit the mentally challenged women but later admitted them after SDM personally talked to them.
SDM RS Pura Ram Lal Sharma said that the attitude of Psychiatric hospital authorities was very unwelcoming. “Initially they refused to admit them on 4th of April and on 6th of April, a doctor called me and made a very illogical excuse claiming that as per amended Mental
Health Act, an SDM is not competent to direct them to admit the mentally challenged people but a Chief Judicial Magistrate can”, SDM said.
He further said that the Psychiatric hospital authorities were trying to shun their responsibility by taking the excuse of Law but they could not as according to State Disaster Management Act, if they would not obey the orders an FIR could be registered against them.
However, Dr Manu Arora of Psychiatric Hospital Jammu said that these homeless people should be sent to the shelter homes meant for them. On being asked if there was any scarcity of the facilities at hospital, he replied in negative but said that a medical Board would examine the cases of these destitute and recommend for shifting them to shelter homes. On being asked why the hospital shown reluctance to keep them, Dr Arora asked to contact Dr Dara Singh, Medical Superintendent of GMC Jammu, Dr Dara Singh didn’t pick up his phone for comments.
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