A home for wandering lunatics is the need of hour
In February 2004, when B. Chandramohan was the Collector of Madurai district, he had announced that the district administration/ government would earmark a space (a home) for wandering persons (victims of mental illness) who were either abandoned or victimised or physically abused by anti-social elements.
Though the then Collector had stated that land was identified near Tirupparankundram, it did not move further from that point since then. It was proposed to construct a building on the land in which those found wandering in the district would be rehabilitated (particularly women and children).
It was proposed to float a society named as – MANASA — with a no-profit-no-loss objective and hand it over to a local NGO which would be accountable for day-to-day operations. The news item was published in the columns of “The Hindu” in February 2004.
Almost seven years have gone now. The district has had six Collectors and a DRO, who held additional charge as Collector, since then.
However, the project to establish a home for wandering lunatics continued to be in cold storage but for a mention by the then Collector D. Rajendran in April 2005 that “a home for wandering lunatics is coming up near Madurai,” there was no concrete move in this regard.
The present Collector U. Sagayam, who has been spearheading the need for bringing the differently-abled persons to mainstream, had promised to give a shape to the project at a recent grievance meeting.
Following complaints that many lunatics were wandering and were exploited by anti-social elements, the district administration woke up to the call.
In a fresh case, a 23-year-old woman was raped by some miscreants at Nagamalai Pudukottai some six months ago, when she was alone at home. As her parents were away at hospital, the mentally ill victim was exploited.
The focussed investigation by the Madurai Rural Police had facilitated in arresting five persons, who had reportedly confessed to having committed the heinous crime.
A month ago, a young woman was raped and murdered by a north Indian near Keelavalavu in Madurai district. The investigations suggested that some youth working in many of the private granite polishing industries in the locality might have indulged in the crime.
Free legal aid
Advocate Muthukumar said that for rehabilitating such victims, the government had established free legal aid clinics. The parents of such victims could approach and get remedy – legal and financial, through which the affected persons would get free food, shelter and treatment. In the case of the rape of a 23-year-old woman in Nagamalai Pudukottai, who is expected to deliver the child in the next 45 to 60 days, the government should direct the district administration to entrust the woman in an appropriate Home run by NGOs, where she could get the due care and attention, he added.