Two inmates died at a shelter for women with mental disabilities in Bihar, their postmortem was also conducted at Patna Medical College, but the officials of the state-run facility didn’t bother to inform the police.
A 40-year-old woman and a girl, 16, were taken to the hospital on Friday, but the doctors declared them dead on arrival, police said. The police got a call this morning, probably from an insider at the home, about the deaths. Over 70 inmates stay at this shelter which opened on May 1.
The police had arrested an employee of the shelter who was helping inmates to escape the facility for women with special needs. The cops were at the shelter on Friday for several hours to investigate his role and motive. A team of social welfare department also visited the shelter that day, but the shelter officials remained tight-lipped about the deaths, police said.
The inmates died of diarrhoea, the officials told the police today. The postmortem report is awaited. The police are questioning two of the employees who were present at the shelter on Friday.
“While the shelter claimed the inmates died during treatment at Patna Medical College, the hospital authorities said they were brought dead. We were informed about the deaths this morning,” Deputy Superintendent of Police, Law and Order (Patna), Manoj Kumar Sudhanshu said.
The social welfare department, which had conducted a surprise check on Friday, found several irregularities in its functioning and had recommended that the home be shifted from Rajiv Nagar in Patna.
A 50-year-man, a part-time employee at the shelter, was arrested a day earlier after he allegedly helped some inmates to flee the home.
The incident is expected to make matters worse for Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar already under pressure from the opposition following sexual abuse of over 30 girls at a shelter run by a state-funded NGO in Muzaffarpur.
Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav has also accused the chief minister of trying to shield “several ministers and bureaucrats” for their involvement in the case and dared him to reveal their names.
A 13-year-old girl, who was a witness in the Muzaffarpur case and was among the 44 inmates shifted from the shelter to a similar facility in Madhubani, went missing after the scandal led to nationwide outrage.
“This girl knew everything. She was sent from Muzaffarpur to Madhubani shelter run by Sanjay Jha, who is close to Nitish Kumar. If they don’t produce her soon, we will protest in Madhubani,” the former Bihar deputy chief minister said.