New Delhi: On World Mental Health Day CNN-IBN finds out how being mentally ill is still a stigma. Thirty mentally ill women have been abandoned in Delhi. They have been living in a dilapidated amphitheatre for the past three years in Delhi.
Open to the harsh Delhi summers and winters, the amphitheatre in the city's Kabir Basti has been home to the 30 mentally disabled women. After a 2009 order by the Delhi High Court to make five halfway homes, they were first dumped in the amphitheatre as a temporary measure. Sirupa Mitra Chaudhari, the owner of the NGO Sudinalay, said, "They gave me this open air theatre to take care of them."
Apart from the lack of shelter, there are few amenities. The rows meant to provide seating serve as a recreational area for them and the greenrooms are their bedrooms. Safety for the women is a concern too, since the shelter is in the midst of a crowded area.
Volunteers say they don't have any trained staff, and they visit the place on their off days. They also say that there is no 24*7 doctor or ambulance there. "If something happens to them, then I don't know what will happen," said a volunteer.
Sirupa manages food and medicines, thanks to a few private donations. But there's a limit to what she can do. No homes have been constructed yet, in fact the government laid the foundation stone of the first home only last week.
With just one year to go for the state assembly elections, it seems the government has finally woken up to their misery but a permanent solution is still far off. Till then the plight of the women living under the open sky remains deplorable.