NHRC asks Centre to protect mentally ill people from Coronavirus

NHRC asks Centre to protect mentally ill people from Coronavirus

Agency News

Bhubaneswar, Apr 11: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the Centre to direct all the States and Union Territories to ensure that human rights of the mentally ill people, roaming on the streets across the country amid COVID lock down, are protected .

The Commission on Friday asked the Union Home Ministry to inform within two weeks about the arrangements made for these mentally-ill people roaming on the streets.

The Centre should direct the states and union territories to ensure that persons suffering from any kind of mental ailments under their jurisdiction are provided with proper counselling towards necessary precautions for their personal care and protection from the virus.

The Apex right body took cognizance of a complaint on the alleged violation of human rights of the mentally ill people roaming on the streets across the country amid COVID lock down.

The Commission has asked the Union Home Ministry to provide the details of the steps taken or proposed to be taken by the authorities to address the issue raised in the complaint.

The NHRC has observed that some sections of the society such as persons suffering from mental illness require specific attention as even in normal circumstances, they are dependent on others and always need support. Therefore, in this time of crisis, it becomes the duty of the State to ensure food, shelter and social security for the people belonging to such vulnerable classes.

This becomes more necessary because not only the people suffering from mental illness may be deprived of basic amenities but also become easy carriers of the deadly virus posing a life threat to many, the commission observed.

According to the complaint, people have been restricted to remain indoors and only essential services are functional due to the countrywide lock down announced by the Centre from March 23 onward.

The Central and the State governments have taken various steps to address the issues relating to the grievance of the daily wages workers, migrant labourers and other such people who are working in the unorganized sectors to provide them food, shelter and other basic amenities during the period of lock down.

The petitioner stated that a large number of persons suffering from various mental illnesses are loitering on the streets and are dependent for food, shelter and other kinds of help on temples, gurudwaras and other charity organisations.

But the administration has not issued any specific guidelines for these people and no arrangements for their survival during this period of crisis have been made,the petitioner claimed. (UNI)