Plight of mentally-retarded people in Jawalamukhi

Jawalamukhi: Lack of mental asylum in the town has compelled the insanes and destitutes to live an inhuman life. Even after many years of independence, those with a psychiatric disorder have not been assured basic human right.

In every corner of the town lives a mentally sick or destitute. Three such persons, including a woman, live at INDIRA COLONY. One aged lunatic lives in a ruined structure. Scantily dressed, at times he can be seen ligting and eating flith. “The structure in which he lives is rickety and can crumble at any time. We give him food and clothes but he tears them off,” says a resident.

Another person with a psychiatric disorder is Ramaia, who lives near the Bus Stand. He is being harrased by the lottery operators and Darra Satta operators, particularly truck drivers who believe that the digits pointed out by him consistently get prizes. A Dhaba owner who knows him since past 11 years said that some year ago a tourist identified him and said he is belonged to Kerla. “Ramaia speaks an unknown language and never restorted to aims seeking,” says Dhaba owner, who regularly gives food and tea to Ramaia. There are few more people who also help him.

A young mentally retarted also seen in front of Hotel Jwala Ji. He never speaks and always lives naked. He behaves like a child and burns his clothes. He fall ill but hardly gets any treatment due to the language problem, says Parkash Chand shopkeeper said who normaly tried to provide meals and clothes to him. Parkash also tried to bath him and provide medicines but due to his negative attitude all exercise went in vain. Balo, a youth who normally seen at local bus stand crying and running helter-skelter is also a mentally distrub. Generally bus operators use him as a cleaner and some people harrased him for their fun.

Another emotionally disturbed man, Ram, is dumb and can be seen between residential colony and mandir road. He is also at the mercy of citizens.

The worst sufferers are mad women. The modesty of these innocent women is outraged by truckers alike, says Vipan a local resident, who has adopted a mentally sick woman to save her from this male dominated world. Woman now sent back to her native village after medical treatment. Shobha, a woman in her fitness can be seen at Nadaun road behind the Punjab National Bank lying on the road she is disabled. Her both legs are broken in an accident and she is now walking on a wheel cart which is moved by hands. Despite weak eyesight and no source of income, she was deserted by her family.

The story of the unsound minds does not end here. One mentally sick who is a fruit seller is famous for his political speeches. Nath Sadhu loudly speaks in Haryanvi and many a time sings the hymns and bhajans. Nand Lal is frequently seen running on the road helter-skelter. Soordas, a begger can be seen in front of famous shrine of Jwalamukhi. Bakshi Ram, who is a labourer but nobody gives him money for his labour work. He thinks every notes of Indian currency is equal to hundred rupees. Due to this he was mostly cheated by peoples.

The number of insane people is increasing day by day in the area. A majority of the citizens feels that mad people are outsiders who are being thrown and deserted by their families in a town sans a mental health centre. No hospital is available in the area where the psychiatric disorders can be treated.

“Not only such people but stray cattle are also being pushed around. A watchful police, particularly during the night, can keep such people at bay,” says a resident. Though none of the mentally sick are dangerous, but citizens fear the degree of madness can increase with the passage of time. A mental Health or rehabilitation centre is the need of the hour said, Mr. Pardeep Director society for environment and Rural awakening an NGO had chalked out a plan to provide better facilities to mentally sick persons including medical treatment.

There are no self-help groups in the town nor a day Centre or dropping centre which points towards sheer negligence of mental health. The hospital is also not the right place to treat psychiatric disorders. The patients also do not gett emotional support from their own families.

Curing deaf and dumb patients are a Herculean task. A sign language is used to treat such patients which nobody know in the town, he points out. Notwithstanding, the state human rights commission already expressed concern over the plight of abandoned mentally ill persons in the state and directed the police to locate all such persons. But nobody bother to improve the condition in this regard. Even department of welfare is also not aware for this sorry situation.

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