11 kids die in 2 months at Asha Kiran, women forced to shed clothes: DCW

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Aasha KiranThe Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) has come down harshly on the Delhi government’s home for mentally challenged—Asha Kiran—after a surprise visit revealed 11 inmates have died in the past two months. Swati Maliwal, DCW chairperson spent February 4 at the home and found violation of human rights.

“The inmates were being forced to sweep, wash clothes and look after fellow boarders. Women were forced to remove their clothes in the open while being lined up for taking a bath. Completely nude women roamed down the the corridors,” she said.

Also the corridors dotted with CCTV cameras which were manned by male staffers. The DCW saw the CCTV footage which captured mentally-ill women roaming around nude, as per a DCW statement.

The commission has served a notice to the social welfare department secretary and asked that they respond within 72 hours as the “matter is serious and concerns the life and liberty of the residents”.

DCW has set up a separate inquiry panel to look into complaints against the home and a report will be submitted to the government.

The deaths reflect the home’s decadence where 450 women and children were crammed into a decaying, fetid space having a sanctioned capacity of 350, she said. Maliwal found four persons shared each mattress and the toilets were unhygienic.

Also, there were no adequate blankets for inmates in the winter and there weren’t any wheel chairs;  women and children literally crawled on the floor to reach the toilets.

Meanwhile, BJP has demanded the resignation of Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, who heads the social welfare department which looks after the home, located in Rohini. The BJP demanded that Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal own moral responsibility for the death of 11 kids.

“The Delhi government is responsible for the inmates’ death and is now trying to evade responsibility,” Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari said.

“Sisodia should own responsibility and resign,” he added.

The deaths were among more than 600 fatalities reported at the home since 2001.

According to the 2015 CAG report, around 900 inmates were sometimes kept in that decrepit shelter.