Harassment of mentally ill patients: Court orders high-level probe

Jan 17, 2012 (Thrissur )-Chief Judicial Magistrate P.S. Anthony on Monday directed the City Police Commissioner to investigate into the alleged harassment of inmates at the illegal mental health centre at Avanur, near here. The court directive was on the basis of a detailed report submitted by District Medical Officer V.V. Venus at the court on the issue.

The Health Department had recently rescued 41 mentally-ill patients from the Santhi Bhavan Sarvodhaya Pankuvakal Charitable Trust, functioning for the last 28 months at Avanur, during a raid. According to the health officials, the patients were kept in chains in dilapidated, roof-less sheds without proper care or treatment. An inspection conducted by Mental Health Authority Secretary D. Raju at the Centre revealed that the Centre had sold body of an inmate, who died at the centre, to a private medial college in Kollam. The Centre, registered as a charitable institution, did not hold licence to keep mentally-ill patients. Though the register kept at the institution showed 78 patients, only 41 were found at the time of raid. Many patients, including women, were missing. When asked about the missing patients, Thalikkulam Veetil Joshi, 50, secretary of the centre, told Dr. Raju that 11 patients had escaped from the centre at various occasions and five had succumbed to illnesses. One patient was killed during a fight between the inmates.

No documents available

According to the health officials, except for the murder case and another death, no documents were available at the centre about the missing persons. The deaths were not registered at the panchayat. The illegal sale of corpse was revealed when the driver of the ambulance in which the body was transported from the centre to a Kollam-based private medical college was interrogated by the authorities. “The procedural complications to get bodies for academic purposes often encourage private medical colleges to acquire bodies from such illegal institutions,” said a health department official. And for such centres, it was a lucrative business to make easy money.

The DMO’s report has recommended a high-level investigation into the functioning of a large number of orphanages, old-age homes and de-addiction centres in the State.


Directive on the basis of a detailed report submitted by District Medical Officer V.V. Venus

The Health Department had recently rescued 41 mentally-ill patients from a Charitable Trust 

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Govt shuts 27 rehab centres « kracktivist
  2. Trackback: Music and Mental Health « kracktivist

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January 2012
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