Beggar Home's horrific conditions pain women panel; Govt gets notice

| | New Delhi
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Beggar Home's horrific conditions pain women panel; Govt gets notice

Friday, 06 January 2017 | Staff Reporter | New Delhi

Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) has issued notices to the Delhi Government over the "horrific" conditions at a 'Beggar Home' where the inmates, including foreigners, have alleged violation of basic human rights and racial discrimination, as it sought to know how the foreign nationals landed up there.

Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chairperson Swati Maliwal, along with her staff, had on Wednesday night conducted a surprise inspection at the Beggar Home in Nirmal Chhaya Complex.

"The Commission is deeply perturbed at the sorry state of affairs at the Beggar Home. The Commission is of the view that the inmates who are foreign nationals have been denied their basic human rights in the Home.

"It deeply pained us when they stated that they were victims of racism and were being discriminated against on account of them being African Blacks. This is a very serious issue," Maliwal said in the notice issued to the Social Welfare Department.

The Secretary, Social Welfare, has been directed to file a detailed response to the Commission within 72 hours, according to a DCW statement.

The women's body has also issued a notice to the foreigner regional registration office (FRRO) seeking to know why the foreign women were housed in the 'beggar home' and sought a status report on each inmate, reasons for detention, reasons behind inmates not being provided access to embassies and legal aid, among others.

The FRRO's reply has been sought within 72 hours. The DCW said Maliwal met an Uzbek woman at the Home who alleged molestation by an FRRO officer. She received her complaint and has forwarded it to the FRRO and has sought action within three days.

The woman, who is in the Home since December 15, 2016, has alleged that she was "sexually assaulted" by a police officer posted in the FRRO prior to her arrival at the Home, according to another DCW notice sent to Delhi Police commissioner Alok Kumar Verma.

The DCW has sought an action-taken report from the Police Commissioner in the matter within 72 hours, it said. In her notice, Maliwal said there were 15 women and two children, all of them foreign nationals, who were detained for having overstayed their visas in India for different reasons.

During the inspection, the Commission observed "several gross violations" of human rights violations, it said. “The women complained of not being allowed to make a single phone call to their families or embassies due to which they have not been able to contact or seek assistance from their embassies in order to get financial as well as legal help,” DCW said in the notice.

The DCW was informed that two women, one from Uzbekistan and the other from Kenya, have had only one pair of clothes for 22 days. They stated that they did not even have a change of undergarments and were suffering terribly, it added.

"The Commission was horrified to learn that proper medical assistance had not been provided to pregnant ladies. A woman national of Nigeria has been in the Home since December 26 with two babies and triplets in her womb.

"She has been allegedly complaining since the past 10 days to the staff that she is no longer feeling any movement in her womb. However, she alleged that no action has been taken to help her.

“She stated that she begged the staff to allow her to call her doctor but she was denied the same. The pregnant ladies are finding it very difficult to deal with lack of medication and proper food," the statement said.

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