Kolkata : In yet another shocking case that puts a serious question mark on the state of our society, reports claimed on Friday that mentally ill women lodged at a rehabilitation centre in West Bengal were subjected to sexual abuse.

The caretaker of the rehab centre allowed in outsiders in evenings, who then sexually abused the inmates. The centre, located in Dhonekhali in Hooghly district, is home to around 50 mentally ill women. The horrific case of cruelty came to light after the body of Guria, a 30-year-old woman inmate of the mental asylum, was found buried in the backyard. An inmate informed an NGO about Guria’s death, which then passed on the information to a TV news channel.

As per reports, Guria was sexually assaulted and beaten to death by Shyamal Ghosh, a resident of Uttarpara village near Khajurdaho, who allegedly harassed women inmates. He is still absconding. Ghosh is considered to be a close confidant of Uday Chand Kumar, secretary of the rehabilitation centre. Inmates of the state-run asylum have alleged that Shyamal Ghosh, the prime accused, often used to torture them and claimed that he had severely thrashed Guria a few days before her disappearance.

Uday Chand is under police custody; yesterday, he was remanded to 10 days police custody by a local court. Police have also arrested cook Najiya Khatun and gateman Mathur Patra of the centre.

Two others, Tarumal Das and Prafulla Mallick, who buried the body of the 32-year-old destitute dumb woman, Guria, after her death on July 01, are also under police arrest.

The mental asylum is run by a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) and funded by the central government. The West Bengal government yesterday cancelled the license of the rehabilitation centre and ordered that all inmates be shifted to other homes with immediate effect.


Body of woman exhumed after allegation of unnatural death

11 July 2012

Hooghly : The body of a destitute dumb woman who died at a private home for orphans and the mentally was exhumed this evening to ascertain allegations that she had died an unnatural death at Khajurdaho in Hooghly district.

The order for exhumation of the body came after the Block Development Officer of Dhaniakhali Biswanath Ghosh filed an FIR at the Gurap police station, police sources said.

The body was exhumed in the presence of Hooghly District Magistrate S Ranjarajan and Superintendent of Police Tanmoy Roychowdhury.

The sources said that the authorities of the home, Rehabilitation Centre for Mentally Ill persons (Women), claimed that the 32-year-old woman was killed when a ceiling fan fell on her head on July one. After obtaining the death certificate the authorities buried the body as per the custom of the private home run by a person named by Uday Chand Kumar, they said.

Villagers, however, alleged that there was foul play behind the death of the woman and informed the police, the sources said. They questioned that since the woman died an unnatural death why her body was not sent for a post mortem examination. The villagers gheraoed the home during the day alleging that atrocities were being committed on woman and girl inmates.

The SP said that an investigation would be made into the cause of death of the woman.The name of the woman, who was from Bankura district and was found by the police and left at the home on May 22, was not known. She was named Guria at the home. State Women and Child Development minister Sabitri Mitra said in Kolkata that she had asked the Hooghly district magistrate to inquire into the incident. Stating that her department was not informed of the incident by the home authorities, she said that the state government would take strong action if necessary.

WBPCC President Pradip Bhattacharya said that a CID probe should be ordered if not a CBI inquiry into the incident.


Body dug up at home for disabled funded by govt


GURAP (HOOGHLY) : The highly decomposed body of a 32-year-old woman was dug out of a shallow grave in the compound of a state-funded rehabilitation centre for the physically and mentally challenged in Hooghly’s Khajurdaha area, some 50km from Kolkata. Local MLA Ashima Patra has demanded a forensic test to see if she was sexually abused.

Investigators are not ruling out homicide and have arrested the owner of the rehab centre, Uday Chand. There were injuries all over the body, including a grievous wound to her head, police said. The victim, identified as Guriya, died on July 1 but Hooghly police had no clue till a news channel started showing a report on the mysterious death on Wednesday after being tipped off by an NGO.

Police said Uday buried Guriya’s body without informing the administration. It was only on July 3 that he handed police a ‘death certificate’ stating the speech and hearing impaired woman had died of cardio-respiratory failure. Despite the two-day gap, police did not verify Uday’s statement. Now, they suspect the certificate to be fake.

Tip from inmate led to discovery of corpse

Guriya was rescued from the streets by Bankura police on May 22 and sent to the Khajurdaha home. She died on July 1 and Uday allegedly buried the corpse.

The crime would have been buried but for some inmates of the home. Although they are all either mentally challenged or speech and hearing impaired, a few of them — or at least one — managed to get the news out to an NGO run by a former CPM minister on Wednesday. Within minutes, journalists swarmed the rehab home. The police were taken unawares by the media frenzy and ran to the scene only when they saw the live coverage on TV. District magistrate S Rangarajan and SP Tanmoy Roychowdhury also rushed there.

Police picked up Uday and after sustained interrogation, he broke down and revealed where he had buried the body. Additional SP Tathagata Basu said: “The body was exhumed after the SDPO (HQ) Bankura lodged a complaint with Gurap police station.” Police have initiated a case, suo-motu.

“The body has several injury marks, including a severe head wound,” said the SP. As the news spread, villagers started gathering at the home and demanded that all the officials of the rehab home be arrested. “We are not ruling out the possibility of a homicidal assault. The probe hinges on the post-mortem report. The death certificate submitted to the police is not authentic. We are examining if it was forged,” said Basu

Social welfare minister Sabitri Mitra and Dhaniakhali MLA Ashima Patra promised tough action against the “heinous crime”.


Arrest in Hooghly home death

July 11, 2012

Gurap (Hooghly) : The secretary of a home for mentally ill women in Hooghly’s Gurap has been arrested in connection with the “unnatural death” of a 32-year-old inmate on July 1.

A team led by district superintendent of police Tanmay Roy Chaudhuri visited the home, run by an NGO, Dulal Smriti Sansad, and ordered that the body, which they learnt had been buried in the compound, be exhumed.

Secretary Uday Chandra Kumar was arrested after this.

“We found the body had injury marks. We have arrested the secretary on the charge of murder and causing disappearance of evidence. The body has been sent for post-mortem,” said the SP.

On May 23, Guria, a mentally unstable woman, was found loitering at a bus stand in Bankura. “Police was ordered to keep the woman in the home,” an officer said.

Kumar said Guria died on the night of June 30 after she fell from a height. “A doctor was called and he declared her dead, saying she had died of cardiac failure. The doctor also wrote a death certificate,” said Kumar. “We then buried her body on July 1 morning.”

It is still not clear why the home authorities did not inform the police and instead decided to bury the body.

The police were informed by the district social welfare department where a complaint was lodged only today.

The driver of an ambulance belonging to the home, Sunny Roy, was also arrested this evening. “We are looking for two more persons, Shyamal Ghosh and Sanjib Das, who live nearby. We have complaints from inmates that these youths used to get physically intimate with them,” a police officer said.


State to monitor homes for mentally challenged


KOLKATA : Deeply concerned over the death of a mentally-challenged woman Guria in a home at Dhaniakhali in Hooghly, the state government has decided to closely monitor all 18 private-run such homes in West Bengal to prevent the recurrence of any such incident. It has also convened a meeting of all private-run homes at the Writers’ Buildings on July 27.

The body of 30-year-old Guria was found in the backyard of the home — Dulal Smriti Samsad — in Hooghly. After the body was exhumed on Wednesday, the police found injury marks on the victim’s body. “We are deeply shocked over the incident. On the chief minister’s instruction, we have cancelled the licence of the home which was run by an NGO. Four persons, including the secretary of the home have been arrested. The body has been sent for post-mortem. I will visit every home in the state to ensure that such incident do not happen again,” state women and social welfare minister Sabitri Mitra said on Thursday.

However, according to the government sources, the licence of the home had expired on March 31, 2012 and thereafter it was being run without any valid licence. On being asked why the state government did not take action against the home authorities for running the facility without any licence earlier, the minister failed to give any satisfactory reply.

Meanwhile, the Hooghly district administration has been asked to shift all the inmates to other homes.


2 held in home row

July 12 2012

Gurap (Hooghly) : Two more persons were arrested today for allegedly helping to bury the body of the mentally challenged woman at the Hooghly home.

Licenses of all the three homes running under the NGO Dulal Smriti Sansad in Hooghly have been cancelled.

Three persons, including the secretary of the home at Gurap, Uday Chandra Kumar, have already been arrested in connection with the “unnatural death” of the 32-year-old woman on July 1.

BJP supporters holding a demonstration outside a Chinsurah court, where the trio were produced today, beat them up them with brooms.

The three persons, Kumar, Ranjit Mandi and Sunny Roy, were remanded in 14 days’ police custody. Sunny is the driver of the ambulance belonging to the home while Ranjit is a local youth who allegedly frequented the home.

“We have arrested two more local youths — Taru Mal and Prafulla Soren — who had helped bury the woman in the home compound,” said Tanmay Roy Chaudhuri, the district superintendent of police, adding all five were charged with murder.

The police are still looking for two other local youths who some inmates said were known to secretary Chand and often got physically intimate with them.

According to some of the inmates, an officer said, the woman had committed suicide by hanging herself from a rod in the window. A rape is yet to be confirmed.


Rehabilitation centres under scanner

Jul 13, 2012

KOLKATA : The state-funded rehabilitation centre in Hooghly’s Khajurdaha, where the decomposed body of a woman was dug out on Wednesday, was functioning without licence since April this year. This brings to light the state’s casual approach about the way these centres function.

On Thursday, state social welfare minister Sabitri Mitra said at a press conference at Writers’ Buildings: “We have cancelled the licence of the home today.” But a press release handed out by the minister revealed that the licence had, in fact, expired on March 31 this year.

Asked how the rehabilitation centre for the physically and mentally challenged could continue to function without licence for nearly three-and-a-half months, Mitra said, “We asked them to renew the licence, but they did not respond.” However, questions have already been raised on the effectiveness of government control over these homes. Licences are issued under the Women’s and Children’s Institutional (Licencing) Rules, 1958, and due to the “serious violation of human rights of the home inmates”, the government decided not to renew the licence with retrospective effect, as per the order of the government.

The inmates of the home – 46 at the short-stay home, 16 at the home for mentally challenged and 25 at a cottage home – would be shifted out according to availability of accommodation elsewhere. “There are woman cops guarding the place and till all the inmates are shifted out, the district administration will arrang for their food,” Mitra said.

There are 30 state-run homes in the state, out of which two are defunct at present. There is capacity to provide shelter to 2,375 inmates, but currently about 1,000 inmates stay in these homes. Also, there are nearly 10,000 inmates living in 114 homes run by private organizations, which receive state and Central government funds and are provided with licences by the state government. However, questions are being raised on how the state holds visits to these homes and whether visits are held regularly at all.

According to Mitra, visits are held from time to time. She said she had called all NGO representatives who run such homes throughout the state on July 27 at Writers’ Buildings.


Rehab centre licence cancelled after ‘unnatural’ death of woman


KOLKATA : The West Bengal government on Thursday cancelled the licence of a private home in Hooghly district where a woman died unnaturally and her body buried without police permission. Five persons, including its owner, were arrested. The licence of the home, Rehabilitation Centre for Mentally Ill Persons Women) at Khajurdaho in Hooghly district, run by NGO Dulal Smriti Samsad, was cancelled with retrospective effect from April 1 this year, after it was found that it had expired on March 31, Women and Child Development Minister Sabitri Mitra said here.

The department has also ordered that all inmates be shifted to other homes with immediate effect, Mitra said, adding that the steps were taken on the advice of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Uday Chand Kumar, the owner and secretary of the home, cook Najiya Khatun and gateman Mathur Patra were arrested Wednesday night, Hooghly police sources said. The three were produced in a local court in Hooghly and remanded in ten days’ police custody today. Two others, Tarumal Das and Prafulla Mallick, who buried the body of the 32-year-old destitute woman, Guria, after her death on July 1, were also arrested this morning, the sources said.

A meeting has been convened with all the authorities of government homes on July 26 to review the situation, Mitra said.