New Delhi: The deaths of 12 inmates of a state-run juvenile home in one month were natural, the Delhi government said Wednesday in its reply to a National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) notice.
According to investigating officials, poor maintenance or lack of basic amenities could be contributing factors.
The NHRC Tuesday issued a notice to Delhi Chief Secretary Rakesh Mehta asking for a detailed report into the cause of deaths of members of Asha Kiran Home and the state of affairs at the juvenile home, in north west Delhi`s Rohini area.
"The Delhi government has filed a reply to NHRC. Of the 12 inmates who died, one was under 18 years. Prima facie the cause of death appears to be natural. However, based on that we won`t close investigations. In previous reports, the home was found to lack basic requirement and had poor sanitation levels. We are going to see if the deaths had anything to do with that," a senior official of the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) said.
The NHRC was acting on a complaint filed by human rights activist Prabir Kumar Das who alleged that 12 mentally challenged inmates of the home had died in one month. Media reports suggested that three of the 12 had died within 24 hours due to lack of basic facilities such as warm clothes.
An earlier report by the child right`s panel in June last year had found that although sanctioned for 250 inmates, the only state-run complex for mentally challenged people in the national capital houses 750 mentally retarded men, women and children.
The children were found to be suffering from tuberculosis, seizures and skin diseases. The home lacked hygiene and proper sanitary conditions. Around 75 inmates died between 2004 and 2008 at the complex.
In many of these cases, the cause of death was epileptic seizures, which the DCPCR probe committee said could be owing to neglect of medical authorities.
The detailed report from the chief secretary sought by NHRC is due within four weeks time.