Mentally challenged and physically disabled aged parents have been sent to this old age home
Inmates are being asked to manufacture washing powder, and utensil cleaning acids at the old age home
Inhabitant elderly are being forced to work if they want food or shelter for the night
No medical care provided - hands off approach by the management of Lathi Old Age Home
A raid was conducted on 1 August at an unregistered old age home run by an NGO in Udaipur. The raid was conducted under the directions of the Rajasthan State Legal Services Authority, by Ridhima Sharma, Upper District and Sessions Judge and Secretary of the District Legal Services Authority.
What led to the raid
As per Ridhima Sharma, this unregistered old age home is managed by Lathi trust and is being run at a rented house in Sarvaritu Vilas.
Ridhima Sharma, in her statement to media said that a complaint was received at the District Legal Services Authority, Udaipur. The complainant had mentioned that an old age home was being run in the rented house of Mohan Lal, where mentally challenged and physically disabled elderly people were being made to work. Even the basic meals are not being provided.
To add to their woes, an AIDS patient is also living with in the premises. The people staying in the old age home are also not being given medical care. The complaint also mentions that when the inhabitants ask for food, they are beaten up. There is no COVID19 protection being followed in the old age home. The elderly, who are made to work and manufacture agarbattis, washing and cleaning powder and made to fill up acid bottles, are living along with the salesmen for these products. The salesmen being nonveg food to the centre along with liquor and have become a source of presistent disturbance for the already troubled aged inhabitants.
Two of the inmates managed to come out of the old age home and registered their complaint against the management of the old age home, with the nearby Surajpol police station. Police took the two elderly persons back to the old age home and forced them to stay. The director of the old age home asked the elderly complainants to leave the premises and lodged a complaint against them with the same police station.
All of these complaints led the District Legal Services Authority to conduct a raid on the premises of the Lathi Old Age Home. This raid exposed a number of irregularities in the operations of the old age home, a report of which is being sent to the Rajasthan Legal Services Authority, Jaipur; Directorate of Social Justice and Empowerment department; Commissioner Devasthan department, Jaipur; District Collector, Udaipur and Superintendent of Police, Udaipur for necessary action.
Irregularities noted by the District Legal Services Authority, Udaipur
No board or signage of an old age home being run in the premises was visible outside 50A, Sarvritu Vilas. There was no one to give information on what was going on inside the house. On enquiring with the neighbors, the team was told that there is no old age home being run in these premises. Instead, a school is being run in these premises and the inhabitants of the house run a packaging centre for agarbattis, washing powder and pesticides.
The rented accommodation belonged to a person by the name of Mohan Lal. The team observed that there were sounds of a lady shrieking from inside the house and two aged females were looking outside the window, without being able to communicate.
When the team entered the house, there was no one to stop them. The entire premises was dark and dungeon like. As the team proceeded, they found a 80 year old woman lying half naked on the floor. There was no light in the room and mobile torch was used to look around the room. The aged lady was unable to sit, as her spine was damaged and she was unable to move about. After about 20 minutes, another aged lady emerged from the 2nd floor of the house and said that she was the manager of the agarbatti manufacturing company. She said that she was also acting as the warden of the old age home. The convenor/director of the old age home also arrived at the premises in a while.
Inhabitants are mostly discarded elderly who are failed by their children
When Ridhima asked about the 80 year old woman, the Director of Lathi Old Age Home said that the lady’s children had kept the lady there saying that there was no one to take care of her. The Director was instructed to inform the family once the lady dies so that the final rites can be conducted. On being asked if the old age home was looking after the lady, Director of Lathi Old Age Home said that they are trying to communicate with the family for the last 15 days, but there is no response. She added that as per the agreement with the family, the old age home is not responsible for the food and medication or treatment of the inhabitants; hence she is not being given food or medical consultation or medicines.
On being asked why the lady is lying on the floor and not on bed, the Director said that there is no care taker in the old age home and that the lady cannot be taken care of. The Director added that the lady is almost on her death bed and will die in a few days, so there is no need to take care of her.
The Director further said that there is no provision of medical first aid or medicines in the old age home. No doctors visit the old age home. The inhabitants go out to a nearby pharmacist and get their own medicines.
On getting this information, Ridhima Sharma instructed the Director of Lathi Old Age Home to immediately get the lady admitted to a hospital for proper care.
An elderly man, one of the inhabitants, informed that he draws a pension of Rs 16,000. One of his sons is in a government job while the other runs a shop. In spite of that he has to stay in this old age home.
On further checking available records, the team from District Legal Services authority discovered that a lady aged 40 years had also lived in this old age home. The lady, who was in the old age home for 7 days, was directed by the Udaipol police station to stay in this place for 7 days. Earlier, the lady, a resident of Sector 14 had come to the Udiapol police station to register a complaint against her inlaws. She was forced to stay in this old age home for 7 days after signing a declaration to the effect. Instead of providing her with assistance or with COVID care she was sent to this unregistered old age home from 18-24 April by the Udiapol police.
Inhabitant elderly are forced to work in lieu of food and shelter
Nearly 1 quintal of washing powder was lying in the rooms where the aged persons were staying. The Director of Lathi Old Age Home said that the inhabitants are made to manufacture the washing powder, and are provided food and shelter in lieu of the work being done by them. The inhabitants confirmed that they are not paid for their work, and are only provided food and shelter for the work that they do.
The Director of Lathi Old Age Home said that the house was rented and being used to run a school and an old age home. On being asked why the agarbattis,washing powder, pesticides were lying in the home, the Director was unable to provide a satisfactory answer.
Inhabitant elderly are NOT ALLOWED to use the washrooms or Kitchen
Signage outside the kitchen on the first floor prohibited entry into the kitchen, signage outside the washrooms prohibited entry into the washrooms. A signage displayed outside the kitchen said that the inhabitants must wash their own utensils. One being asked about this, the Director said that there is no cleaner in the old age home hence the washrooms cannot be cleaned. Hence entry is prohibited. There is no cooking provision in the kitchen and still the inhabitants enter the kitchen when they feel hungry. The inhabitants also bring food from outside and do not clean their utensils, due to which the signage has been put up.
Agreement on RS 100 stamp paper is binding and torturous
On being asked about the register of inhabitants in the old age home, the Director said that no register was maintained. An agreement was signed between the family of the incoming inhabitants and the old age home. This agreement is on a Rs 100 stamp paper, which says that the inhabitant will provide the entire pension details to the old age home, the pension will be collected from them. The agreement further said that the old age home will not be responsible for their health care. The inhabitants are bound by the regulations of the old age home and they cannot proceed with any legal proceedings against Lathi Old Age Home.
Investigation to the allegations and a comprehensive enquiry will be established to deliver the needed justice to those who are operating such unregulated and illegal operations. This should be an eye opener to the kind of injustice that is being meted out to inhabitants of old age homes in the name of providing social service.
The inhabitants of Lathi Old Age Home will be shifted to other authorized old age homes in the city.