Friday, August 15, 2014

Plea to BMC to evict centre for mentally challenged

MUMBAI: An activist from Varanasi has taken up the cause of mentally challenged inmates of a workshop in Bandra. He has written to the National Human Rights Commission and CM Prithviraj Chavan seeking intervention. The managing committee of Ben Mar Society near Mehboob Studio had written to the BMC seeking the closure of the Happy Hours workshop located in the compound. 

The centre imparts vocational training to around 50 adults with varying mental disabilities. Residents complain that the inmates' cars speed into the compound and one of them broke the windscreen of a new car. The centre denies most allegations. A social worker who lives in Ben Mar brought the matter to the attention of Dr Lenin Raghuvanshi of the Varanasi-based NGO People's Vigilance Committee on Human Rights. Raghuvanshi is a member of the NGOs Core Committee of the NHRC. "Lenin has visited our building and is aware of the issue," said the social worker.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Chief Minister office
Date: Thu, Aug 14, 2014 at 12:13 PM
Subject: FW: Plea to BMC to evict centre for mentally challenged
To: Shrikant Singh
Cc: PVCHR Communication

Respected Sir/Madam,

Forwarding this email for neccessary action.

Registry Section,
Chief Minister's Office,
Mantralaya, Mumbai.

From: PVCHR Communication []
Sent: Thursday, August 14, 2014 11:58 AM
To: Chief Minister office
Cc: Lenin Raghuvanshi
Subject: Plea to BMC to evict centre for mentally challenged

The Chief Minister
Government of Maharashtra
Dear Sir,

I want to bring in your kind attention towards the news published in the
English newspaper "The Times of India"
on 9th August, 2014
Plea to BMC to evict centre for mentally challenged 

Plea to BMC to evict centre for mentally challenged

MUMBAI: Residents of a housing society in Bandra say they are facing multiple problems due to a workshop for mentally challenged adults that is being run on the ground floor. The managing committee of Ben Mar building near Mehboob Studio has written to the BMC to evict the Happy Hours centre whose lease, according to the residents, has expired.

The workshop provides vocational training to mentally disabled people. Some are afflicted with cerebral palsy, others are "retarded and deaf". All are adults aged 18-60.

The society has barred entry through the front entrance and is urging the school to use the rear gate which gives direct access to the centre. "The students' cars speed through the front gate and we are afraid for our senior citizens and children. They also use our parking space. Recently, a 30-year-old female inmate smashed the windscreen of a brand new car with a stone. Another threatened to beat up my neighbour's kids. We are sympathetic to mentally challenged people because they do not know what they are doing, but for how long must we live in fear in our own homes?" says Sushila Fletcher, secretary of the society.
Ground floor residents complain of inmates peeping into their bathrooms. "Even the caretakers who drop them here can't control them. They throw temper tantrums, scream and shout. Our children are scared of going out to play until the workshop closes,"says another.

Moreover, two houses were burgled in broad daylight, including that of Father Nigel Barrett, a senior official of the Catholic Church. "Father Nigel's old father lives alone, he could have come to harm. Unknown people, including bikers, claim they are visiting the centre, only to use our gates as a shortcut to the next lane. How can we risk opening both gates all day?" says Fletcher.

The NGO says disabled people are being victimized. Spokeswoman Manjusha Singh says, "We are running the centre smoothly since decades. The inmates are not responsible for the robberies, and the building has a watchman and CCTVs for security. The one time our student damaged a resident's car, her father paid full compensation." But the car owner denies "being paid a penny".

Singh alleged that residents dump garbage near the centre.

Fr Nigel says the solution is for the centre to utilize the rear gate, which is barely 3m away. "We had no problems with the inmates during my growing years. But then most residents were young couples, now they are senior citizens," he says.

Therefore it is kind request
please take appropriate action at earliest.

Thanking You,
Sincerely Yours,
Lenin Raghuvanshi
Secretary General
Peoples' Vigilance Committee on Human Rights
Sa 4/2 A Daulatpur, Varanasi - 221002Mobile No: +91-9935599333