'Endosulfan victims ill-treated at Kokkada centre'

Parents and caretakers of endosulfan victims speak to Belthangady MLA Harish Poonja about the poor treatment of the victims by the staff at Seon Ashram at Kokkada on Saturday.

Parents and caretakers of endosulfan victims staged a protest urging the government to run the day care centre for endosulfan victims at Kokkada in Belthangady taluk on Saturday.

They picketed the Seon Ashram and staged a protest at the centre.

When the local MLA Harish Poonja visited them, the protesters demanded that the contract to Seon Ashram to run the day care centre be withdrawn. “The centre should be run by the government or handed over to Seva Bharathi, which handled it previously,” they demanded.

The parents accused the staff of forcing the victims to sweep the floors and clean toilets at the centre. When the staff denied the charges, the parents showed video clippings to the MLA, Endosulfan Control Officer Dr Naveenchandra Kulal and the taluk health officer. They also showed clippings of the staff threatening victims of cancelling the monthly stipend, if they dropped out of the
centre.

Women employed as cooks confessed to the MLA that, until a few days ago, the inmates were not properly fed. After the parents had complained to the taluk health officer, the inmates got sufficient food. The practice of serving food to the parents visiting the centre had been discontinued.

No CCTV camera has been installed at the centre.

Fast unto death

Activist Sridhar Gowda K threatened to stage a fast unto death in front of the district health and family welfare office if the contract for the centre was not withdrawn from the Seon Ashram within a fortnight.

Poonja directed the health officers to submit a report on the lapses at the centre to the deputy commissioner at the earliest.

He also promised to draw the health commissioner’s attention to the state of the centre and ensure that the government ran the centre.

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