M'lore rehab centre raided, 27 rescued

The Women and Child Welfare department officials, along with the police, raided Ashraya Rehabilitation Centre at Nanthoor on Sunday night, following allegations that the centre authorities were not following the guidelines for running an old age home and rehab centre for the mentally ill.

All the 27 inmates of the centre, including 14 men and 13 women, have been shifted to Wenlock Hospital for further treatment.

The raid came in the wake of reports that a young girl escaped from the centre by jumping over the compound wall Sunday night.

However, the centre’s managing trustee Upendra Naik chased and caught her and started abusing her.

The neighbours who witnessed the incident informed the police and the Women and Child Welfare Department secretary.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Women and Child Welfare department deputy director Shakunthala said the centre was run by Naik. She said she had been directed by the secretary of the Women and Child Welfare department to visit the spot at around 11.30 pm. The raid continued till 3.30 am.

“We shifted the inmates after seeking permission from the Dakshina Kannada Deputy Commissioner,” she said.

“We have filed a case against the centre at the Kadri police station. The rooms were congested and stinking. Men and women shared the same room and the condition of aged people was appalling as they were forced to live with the mentally ill. In one of the rooms, we saw an old woman sleeping on the floor without any mattress or bedsheet,” she said.

The inmates also complained that Naik abused them and gave them medicines meant for the mentally ill.

“We will try to contact the families of the inmates and send them back to their homes. If the families fail to respond, we will send them to recognised institutions after getting them treated for their sickness.” Shakunthala said the owner of the centre collected Rs 50,000 as advance from the families of a few inmates.

Local residents said none of them was allowed anywhere near the compound wall of the centre.Police have arrested Naik.

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