Bringing relief to rights activists and residents of Vedaranyam, NGO volunteers accompanied by government officials, rescued 34 mentally-challenged persons, including eight women, found loitering on streets here on Thursday.
Of the 34, 25 had been rescued from in and around Vedaranyam town and nine from Kodiyakkarai coastal hamlet.
A majority of them were found to be natives of other States such as Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
Speaking to Express, Mujub Sharik, district president of Friends of Police said, “With the help of Fire Safety personnel, Health department officials and officials of Vedaranyam Municipality, we managed to rescue 34 mentally challenged persons in and around Vedaranyam. Those rescued were provided hair dressing, cloths and food at the Vedaranyam fire station.”
After obtaining permission from the Vedaranyam Judicial Magistrate, they are expected to be shifted to Chennai for rehabilitation.
Meanwhile, NGO representatives and local residents in Vedaranyam have demanded a system to prevent anti-socials from dumping homeless and mentally-challenged people in Vedaranyam after bringing them in lorries arriving from other States at Vedaranyam for salt procurement. They have also demanded a permanent rehabilitation home of the Differently Abled Welfare Department at Vedaranyam to accommodate mentally-ill persons rescued every now and then.
Express had, last year, reported about mentally-ill persons found loitering in Vedaranyam, Nagapattinam, Sirkazhi and Kollidam areas. According to sources in other blocks of the district, 11 homeless persons in Mayiladuthurai, eight in Kollidam, and 30 in Velankanni are to be rescued.
Meanwhile, volunteers told Express that as there were no psychiatrists in Nagapattinam town to treat the rescued persons, a doctor had been brought in from Tiruvarur district.