51 deaths last yr at govt rehabilitation centre

Missing kids also another challenge: RTI

Fifty one people died at the government-run rehabilitation centre Asha Kiran in Rohini for mentally challenged during the past year, according to an RTI reply. 

The institution, the sole such government-run rehabilitation centre in the city, is also grappling with the issue of missing children. 

In 2013, there were deaths of 29 people. “A total of 80 deaths have taken place since 2013. Fourteen people died on the campus and 65 deaths occurred at the hospital,” said the reply to the RTI query filed by an activist Raj Hans Bansal.

In 2012, 29 deaths took place and 13 people died in 2011. “Since 2001 a total of 517 inhabitants have died at Asha Kiran, of which 290 are males and 227 females,” said the RTI.

Administrator of Asha Kiran B S Banerjee said most of these deaths are of residents who were “severely” and “profoundly” mentally challenged. 

“People living here have severe disorders and their brain functions are compromised. Such people have a short life span of only 30 to 35 years,” Banerjee told Deccan Herald.

The residents have been divided into four categories – mildly challenged, moderately challenged, severely and profoundly challenged.

The RTI activist said that the institution take them to the hospital only at an advanced stage. “There is lack of care at the home. There should be proper health check-ups of these people so that the fatalities can be reduced,” said Bansal.

The Asha Kiran has a total capacity of 890 residents, of which 442 are men and 448 women. Some of them are as young as six year old.  

“The home has a capacity to accommodate only 510 people,” said the RTI.According to the RTI, in total 94 people had been missing since 2001, of which 81 were men and 13 were women.

A 13-year-old boy went missing on December 18 when he was taken to the Baba Saheb Ambedkar Hospital for a check-up. “A female guard took two boys to the hospital and one of them went missing,” said Banerjee.

Another official of the mental institution said that the boy ran away. The boy was paralysed in the right arm and leg. Asked how can the paralysed boy run away, Banerjee said, “We have ordered an inquiry into the matter.”

The FIR was registered with Vijay Vihar Police station at 12.30 am. The RTI activist said that if he had not intervened the institution would not have made an official complaint. 

“The boy went missing in the afternoon and these guys (institution) didn’t even think of going to the police. I got to know around 8 pm about the incident and I called up the SHO,” said Bansal.

The institution’s authorities said, “Some activist might have called. We got late because we were searching for the boy.”

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