BHUBANESWAR: In a significant move, the Odisha Government has assured the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) that it will soon adopt a policy for the mentally ill persons to prevent their torture and ensure their cure and rehabilitation.

The rights panel, in an order passed earlier this month, asked the State Government to inform within eight weeks the measures undertaken to adopt the new policy.

The State’s submission came in response to NHRC’s direction in a case involving 35-year-old mentally challenged person Babuni Behera of Puri’s Gop block. Babuni had been kept in chains for the last 10 years.

The Puri-based Global Human Rights Communications (GHRC), which had filed the petition, stated that since the victim’s parents had passed away and his brother was unable to meet the medical expenses, Babuni was left to fend for himself in a shackled condition.

The NHRC had asked the Puri district administration to undertake measures for care and treatment of the victim following which the latter arranged a psychiatric’s visit to the village. The victim was taken to SCB Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack where he is currently undergoing treatment. The district administration has assured that it will bear expenses of his treatment till he is cured.

The Health and Family Welfare Department submitted before the panel that it will chalk out a comprehensive policy for the mentally ill while taking care of the rehabilitation of Babuni, Subash Mohapatra of GHRC said.

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