TIRUCHY: A day after 27 patients at a private de-addiction centre in Tiruchy were found in chains, officials who conducted an inspection at the facility on Tuesday said the centre was unauthorised and had neither proper facilities nor qualified staff. The officials were of the view that there had been gross human rights violations.
Dr Niranjana, head of the psychiatry department at the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Government Hospital, led a team of doctors to inspect the Lifecare De-addiction Centre in KK Nagar. Social defence department officials also told Express that the centre was unauthorised, although its website lists a registration number. Dr Niranjana said the centre had not been registered with the Institute of Mental Health to provide de-addiction services. C Manivannan, who runs the centre was not present during inspection and could not be reached for comment.
Irregularities at the centre had come to light after the death of R Tamil Selvan, a 36-year-old constable attached to the Pennadam police station in Cuddalore, on Saturday. Tamil Selvan had been admitted to the centre on May 28 after he was placed under suspension for his alcohol addiction. His relatives were suspicious about the circumstances surrounding his death and had forced their way into the centre on Monday, where they found patients chained. KK Nagar police registered a case under Section 174 CrPc (suspicious death) and began an investigation. “As such de-addiction centres are operated under the guidelines of IMH we conducted the inspection based on direction from the Institute’s director. We found that the patients were restrained using iron chains. This is definitely a human rights violation,” Dr Niranjana told Express.
The team said there were no qualified caretakers. After going through the registers there, the team found that doctors did not visit the centre regularly. According to the inspection team, the patients were made to stay in small rooms and there was a sanitation issue. All the patients had been sent home. A report on the inspection would be submitted to the IMH director and based on that further action would be taken. Meanwhile, KK Nagar police inspector Sahaya Anbarasu said Tamil Selvan’s body had been exhumed.
“The body was exhumed at his native place in Cuddalore and postmortem was done. Once we get the postmortem report, further action will be taken,” he said.