West Bengal school principal accused of drugging, molesting students in hostel #VAW #WTFnews


 

, TNN | Aug 5, 2012, 12.48AM IST

West Bengal school principal accused of drugging, molesting students in hostel
A Bengal school principal-cum-warden has been accused of drugging and molesting students on the pretext of giving them medicines.

MALDA: The principal-cum-warden of a residential school in Kaliachak has been accused of drugging and molesting students on the pretext of giving them medicines. Though many students have been allegedly victimized for years, it came to light when the father of a Class IX girl lodged a complaint against the principal,Najib Ali, last Friday.

Ali, who is an influential Trinamool leader, has gone into hiding. It is the latest in a string of crimes in Bengal schools, from a girl being stripped in a co-ed classroom to another being forced to lick her own urine in hostel.

SS Point Residential School of Nazirpur has been running for 10 years and around 100 girls stay in a hostel adjoining the campus. Though only three have officially complained, many more have alleged that Ali, who lived near the school, regularly misbehaved with them.

A few days back, when a Class IX student fell ill, Ali was summoned to the hostel. Instead of giving her medicines, he allegedly drugged the student to make her unconscious and then molested her, says the FIR.

On Friday evening, the girl’s father went to meet her at the hostel and found her unusually quiet. It took a lot of coaxing to get her to speak, says the father. “When my daughter told me about her experience. I was too shocked to react. I rushed to the principal’s room. But he denied the charges and said it was a conspiracy to defame him. Then the other students also narrated their ordeal,” he said.

The victim’s father went to Kaliachak police station late on Friday night and lodged a complaint against Ali. Soon other guardians and villagers joined him and demanded that Ali be arrested. “We could never imagine that the students were put through such torture. The girls kept quiet because they were scared of their future,” said another guardian.

With Ali being a Trinamool leader, the allegation caused the party much embarrassment. The party’s district president, social welfare minister Sabitri Mitra, said: “The police have to arrest the accused teacher without considering his political affiliation.” She even blamed police inaction for the rise in crime against women in the district.

Malda SP Jayanta Pal said that Kaliachak police raided Ali’s house but he was not found. Police teams are out looking for him.The victim’s father went to Kaliachak police station late on Friday night and lodged a complaint against Ali. Soon other guardians and villagers joined him and demanded that Ali be arrested. “We could never imagine that the students were put through such torture. The girls kept quiet because they were scared of their future,” said another guardian.

With Ali being a Trinamool leader, the allegation caused the party much embarrassment. The party’s district president, social welfare minister Sabitri Mitra, said: “The police have to arrest the accused teacher without considering his political affiliation.” She even blamed police inaction for the rise in crime against women in the district.

Malda SP Jayanta Pal said that Kaliachak police raided Ali’s house but he was not found. Police teams are out looking for him.

 

End of the road for mentally ill?


End of the road for mentally ill?

Arita Sarkar

Chennai, June 7, 2012, The Hindu

Patients who are not claimed by their families continue to live in the wards and are employed in the industry therapy unit

Two months ago, 26-year-old D. Sundar Raj, a patient at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), craved for his family’s attention to such an extent that the desperation drove him to climb up the terrace of the ward and escape the premises, only to get accidentally hit by a passing lorry. This unfortunate incident sends out a strong message about the lack of social support and growing negligence of the patients at IMH.

A 206-year-old institution, IMH is the only government residential facility in the State for the mentally ill. The institute has about 1,300 patients, housed in eight wards designated for women and 12 wards for men including one for male criminal patients.

S. Ambika, a social welfare officer at IMH, said, “There are six units at IMH and on an average, every unit comprises 70-100 patients. In each unit, a maximum of ten patients get visitors on a regular basis.” In the third unit that she supervises, there are only two patients who have family members that visit occasionally.

“After the first few months, most people stop visiting their relatives admitted here. As a reminder, the families are sent postcards and letters at least once a month persuading them to visit the patients more often,” she said.

In some cases, the families give fake addresses making it difficult for the hospital officials to track them down. A 35-year-old patient, admitted at the IMH for five years, was in a similar situation recently. “After his treatment, when he was sent home with a male attendant, the address turned out to be a fake one. He was brought back here,” said Ambika.

Patients who are not claimed by their families continue to live in the wards and are employed in the industry therapy unit where they learn how to stitch uniforms and bind books.

According to the on-call psychiatrist and associate professor, V. Sabitha, “No matter what the illness may be, there is always an improvement in the condition of the patient within six to eight months. Most of them are then fit to be discharged.”

Though advised to come between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m., the families will categorically visit after working hours so as to avoid meeting the medical officer since most of them have no intention of taking their discharged family member back home, she said.

Highlighting the importance of the presence of families in the treatment of patients and discouraging the prolonged stay of a patient after treatment, Dr. Sabitha said, “After being healed, if one continues to stay in the same environment, then eventually, their condition will deteriorate.”

New rules for mental health rehab centres


4-FEB-2012, K.P.M. Basheer

Draft rules to be submitted soon; centres will come under disabilities Act

Centres to be taken out of the ambit of Mental Health Act, Many private-run centres function ‘illegally’ 

KOCHI : The State government is planning new procedures to bring on board hundreds of mental health rehabilitation centres run by NGOs and philanthropic individuals, a situation unique to Kerala, and place them under the Social Welfare Department.

A draft set of rules, tentatively titled The Kerala Registration of Psycho-Social Rehabilitation Centres, has been formulated by the Social Welfare Department by invoking Section 73 of the Persons With Disabilities (Equal Opportunities of Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act 1995 (the PWD Act).

The rules intend to take the mental health care homes and rehabilitation centres out of the purview of the Mental Health Act 1987 and bring them under the PWD Act.

“The rules, after consultations with the stakeholders, will be submitted to the government in a couple of weeks,” K.K. Mony, additional secretary in the Social Welfare Department, told The Hindu .

The Mental Health Act (which also created the State Mental Health Authority) mainly deals with mental health care hospitals and psychiatric nursing homes.

There is no separate law to govern rehabilitation centres. The result: hundreds of such centres function ‘illegally.’ The Mental Health Authority cannot issue licence to majority of rehabilitation centres because of legal lacuna.

In other States

The Mental Health Act does not recognise the fundamental differences between a mental health hospital and a mental health rehabilitation centre. States such as Tamil Nadu and Gujarat found a way out by bringing the mental health rehabilitation centres under the PWD Act whose definition of disabilities includes mental illness. The Kerala rules have borrowed some provisions from Tamil Nadu’s.

The rules, in the first place, recognise the social reality of the existence, and need for, mental health care homes and rehabilitation centres.

The rise in the number of persons with mental illness and families’ tendency to go ‘nuclear’ have added to the relevance of such centres.

The public sector treatment facilities are clearly unequipped to handle the load.

The Kerala rules would include registration norms of the centres, criteria for inmates’ admission, accommodation, sanitation, and medical help among others.

Local community

The rules would also look into the functioning, funding, licensing, supervising, and monitoring of the centres. They would encourage the participation of the local community in the well-being of the inmates, Mr. Mony said.

Facilitated by the People’s Council for Social Justice, the first round of consultation with functionaries of care homes, social workers, and psychiatrists was held at Kochi on Tuesday.

Consultations

Two more consultations, one at Kannur and another at Thiruvananthapuram, would be held before finalising the draft, Mr. Mony said.

One major outcome of the rules would be that the Social Welfare Department, not the Health Department, would have the responsibility of licensing, supervising, and channelling government aid to the care homes and rehabilitation centres.


Munija says No to Child Marriage


Sixteen year old Munija Khatun reads in Class X and lives with her parents Samsul Momin & Rumela Bibi in Mahisasthali village of Samshergunj Block of Murshidbad district. As Munija is a beautiful looking girl, on the way to school she often faced comments with sexual overtones. So Samshul thought it was better to get her married as early as possible to ensure safety. Thus it was decided that Munija would discontinue her studies and her marriage was arranged.

Munija was very upset and informed ASHA’s field representative about her father’s plan of getting her married. ASHA’s field representative took Munija to meet the women’s reflect circle members and shared with the women Munija’s problem. The women in the reflect circle had come together with support from ASHA and had become conscious of their rights through participation in awareness sessions and were determined to address social customs which discriminate girls and women. On the very next day the women visited Munija’s place and talked with her father. Her father explained why he was arranging the marriage, which was according to him for protection of Munija. The women opined that marriage was not a solution for the problem. Moreover marriage at an early age and depriving Munija from opportunities of school education was detrimental to her development. But Munija’s father was not at all ready to listen to the Reflect Circle Members. Munija also expressed her reluctance to get married strongly after feeling supported by the women.

Mean while the women of the reflect circle had a meeting with the boys involved in harassing Munija and pressurized the boys to stop such unacceptable behavior and warned them that if they did not pay heed to their advice they would report to police . The boys committed to the women to change their behavior and attitude. They also went with the women and assured Munija’s parents that Munija will never face this problem again. Samshul finally agreed to postpone the marriage. Now Munija is attending her school regularly and she is not facing any problem on the way to school.

Adolescent reflect circles support Tuktuki to prevent an early marriage

Fifteen year old Tuktuki Khatun lives in Kashimnagar village of Block Suti II in Murshidabad district with her father Moimul Sk, a daily labourer and mother Baby Bibi, homebased beedi worker. Her 17year old brother has migrated in search of work and two elder sisters are married. Tuktuki is Illiterate and she has never attended school. She helps her mother in beedi rolling. Her marriage was fixed with her maternal cousin on 12th December 2011.

Tohamina Adolescent Reflect Circle was formed with support from ASHA in 2009 as a forum for adolescent girls where they could discuss and learn about various health, nutrition & social issues affecting their lives and their rights and gain confidence to express their concerns/views. They had all learnt about the legal age for marriage, hazards of early marriage and legal provisions to prevent Child marriage. During the observation of International Fortnight to prevent Violence against Women & Girls, the reflect circle girls under leadership of Asnara Khatun had taken the pledge to make their village child marriage free. The circle had atken up the issues of promoting rights of girls to education and preventing child marriage as their priority issues. They were also supported by the Women Reflect Circle members in the village.

When the girls came to know of Tuktuki’s marriage they went to her house and circle Visit Tuktuki’s house and tried to explain her parents that their daughter is only 15year she is not physically and mentally fit for marriage. They also mentioned that organizing child marriage is punishable under the law. But her parents were very adamant and did not want to discuss anything with the girls. The members of Tohmina adolescent circle along with the women Reflect circle members again visited Tuktuki’s house. Baby Bibi on that day expressed that she was not in favour of the marriage at this point but her husband’s decision was final. Tuktuki also did not want to marry. Moimul Sk was not ready to discuss and listen to anyone.

After several attempts the adolescent girls realized that to stop this marriage, they need help from the police and District Social Welfare Office. The girls had already met the District Social Welfare Officer (DSWO) and Protection Officer at Baharampur during their Annual Sharing Meet and DSWO had given his number for contact in emergency. Asnara, the circle leader spoke to DSWO over phone about the situation and requested his help. On the very next day the Police came to the village and talked with Tuktuki’s parents. Subsequently the marriage was postponed.

 

(Association for Social and Health Advancement(ASHA) has been engaged over last eight years in addressing adolescent health, nutrtion& development issues and working for promoting adolescent rights and undertaking community/school based interventions for empowering adolescent girls and boys.I am sharing  the stories of Munija, Tuktuki & Tohmina adolescent reflect circle who have been appreciated by the Honourable President of India on 17th January for saying no to CHILD Marriage.)

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