God Help inmates as de-addiction centre turns abusive to wean patients
The recent death of a patient in a de-addiction centre at Mangadu has brought to light horrific details of patients being subjected to torture in such facilities to give up on drugs.
CHENNAI: The recent death of a patient in a de-addiction centre at Mangadu has brought to light horrific details of patients being subjected to torture in such facilities to give up on drugs.
P Subramani (37) and a tender coconut seller, died on Monday in the “God Helping Foundation” after suffering severe injuries. Police found that his nine rib bones were broken and he had suffered injuries throughout the body indicating severe torture.
“He had told me once that he was physically assaulted and not given proper food and place to sleep. All inmates were subjected to beating on their knees and knuckles to force them to promise they will give up drinking,” says Kumar, Subramani’s brother in-law.
It was the second time that Subramani was admitted to the centre. He was admitted to the same centre last September and discharged in November. The family says that while Subramani stayed away from alcohol for a few days, he relapsed soon.
On April 14, Subramani voluntarily went to the centre again for further treatment, escorted by his wife. “As they reached the centre, Subramani was taken to a room upstairs and locked in. Meanwhile, the staff demanded `10,000 from my sister. She said she did not have that much money and was given a week to arrange money,” said Kumar.
The next time she heard from the centre was in the wee hours of Monday that Subramani had fallen down in the toilet and suffered injuries. “Though the staff were aware that he had died on the spot, they decided to remain quiet, despite my sister asking them many times about her husband,” says Kumar.
After three hours of wait, only the doctors at the Kilpauk Medical College Hospital broke the news to Bhuvaneshwari that it was evident from the injuries on the body that Subramani was physically tortured, leading to his death.
“Subramani wanted to leave the place. But the staff and a driver in the centre had tied him down using a rope and beaten up him near the bathroom, an area not covered by CCTV cameras,” said a police officer.
The officer recalled that in 2015, a man died at the same centre. “But nobody came forward to file a complaint,” he said. The police arrested R Ravi (45), of Red Hills, the owner of the centre, his staff M Manikandan (23), of Padi, M Dill Babu (34), of Thiruvallur and S Charan (26) of Bengaluru, while 18 other inmates were asked to leave.
Dr K S P Janardhan Babu, director-programmes, MS Chellamuthu Trust and Research Foundation, said the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment had mandated minimal standards of care for the de-addiction centres (see box) “The government had crack down on such untoward incidents and growing number of unauthorised centres run by quacks,” he said.
In Chennai, the ministry had appointed TT Ranganathan Clinical Research Foundation as the regional resources training centre to conduct inspection at other sub-centres and keep a track of the inpatients. These guidelines focus on the patients facilities, including different rooms for detoxification etc.