• The Coimbatore municipal corporation’s night shelter, where police and civic officials dump the destitutes and mentally ill found loitering in public places, is turning into a house of horrors for the inmates.In the absence of proper facilities and support systems, the centre’s caretaker chains the mentally-ill inmates if they are found difficult to handle. When TOI visited the centre, a young man Pradip, presumed to be from West Bengal and brought to the centre a couple of months ago, was chained to an iron pole in the shed with nothing but an old dhoti to cover him. He has been chained to the pole and left on the floor since and the deep blisters on his legs are proof of this.

    “Some of the mentally-ill people tend to become unreasonable during certain times of the month like amavasi (new moon). That is why we keep him chained to the pole. He tends to have string mood swings,“ said K Gangadharan, caretaker of the shelter, which is run by the voluntary organisation Malarum Vizhigal. Gangadharan is a retired sanitary inspector from the city municipal corporation.

    City health officer P Aruna said the night shelter and its operations, including medical assistance to the inmates, is under the control of the organisation managing the facility . A total of 102 people live in the shelter, of which 33 are listed as mentally disturbed and 31 are senior citizens. Times View: Keeping mentally ill people chained in the very institutions intended to heal them is barbaric. Those who run homes must be sensitised to avoid such practices.
    NGOs and officials should create a protective environment and develop skills to ensure they lead productive lives. States can also plan halfway homes to provide shelter, jobs and a social network to rehabilitate the countless battling internal demons.

COIMBATORE: More disturbing facts emerged from the Coimbatore Municipal Corporation’s night shelter on Monday evening after two women inmates were found locked up in a room because they were ostensibly mentally unstable. Officials from the differently-abled welfare department freed them during an inspection.

Voluntary organization Malarum Vizhigal was in charge of the night shelter on West Arockiasamy Road near RS Puram in the city. Officials found that the NGO’s registration expired on March 26, 2013.

Two women, identified as Veerammal from Podanur and Shanta from Karnataka, were freed from a dark room in which they were locked up because the caretaker said they had a tendency to turn violent. On Sunday, TOI found a young man chained to a pole in the shelter.

The shelter’s caretaker, K Gangadharan, a retired sanitary inspector and president of Malarum Vizhigal, gave the same excuse for the women being locked up.

The district administration has decided to shift 35 mentally ill inmates from the night shelter after conducting a medical and psychiatric evaluation in the next two days. The state government has also asked the city municipal corporation to conduct an inquiry.

“We have decided to shift five inmates to United Home, a government-approved home for the mentally ill for the time being. We will also ask the corporation to reopen its centre for the mentally ill, which is next door to the night shelter,” said K Karpagam, district revenue officer, Coimbatore.

Read more here- http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/coimbatore/2-more-mentally-ill-persons-found-locked-up-in-shelter/articleshow/39201260.cms