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Tamil Nadu: 86 rescued from St Joseph’s Hospice over ‘organ harvesting’

Villagers surrounding the hospice, located at Salavakkam in Chennai’s neighbouring Chengalpattu district, have been protesting against the facility since Tuesday last week when an old woman and a man were found being transported in a van along with the dead body of another old man.

india Updated: Feb 26, 2018 23:47 IST
KV Lakshmana
KV Lakshmana
Hindustan Times, Chennai

The administration on Monday relocated 86 elderly inmates of the St Joseph’s Hospice, a home for the dying, in Kancheepuram following complaints by locals of ill-treatment of inmates and reports of expiry of the homes’ license to operate.

Villagers surrounding the hospice, located at Salavakkam in Chennai’s neighbouring Chengalpattu district, have been protesting against the facility since Tuesday last week when an old woman and a man were found being transported in a van along with the dead body of another old man. Passers-by reportedly heard the woman wailing in the van, stopped the vehicle and discovered the two elders.

The woman was identified as Annamalai and the man as Selvaraj, both 71. The body was identified as that of Vijayakumar.

The driver of the van had fled, but soon villagers gathered and began protesting against the hospice, levelling allegations of organ harvesting at the facility.

The hospice, which calls itself a ‘Home for Dying Destitute’, was founded in 2011 by Father RV Thomas, a pastor.

Locals allege that elders are brought to the hospice from different places and beaten up. When people died, they were not cremated or buried. Instead the bodies are shoved into rectangular blocks fixed in the walls.

On Monday, the revenue divisional officer of Kancheepuram, Raju, who was part of the team that investigated the hospice said, “today we inspected the facility and identified 86 inmates who were relatively healthy and were wanting to shift out of the home. They are being shifted to nearby orphanage.”

“Tomorrow (Tuesday), we will again visit the place along with a team of doctors to check on the health of the 255 other inmates housed there,” Raju said.

He said investigations were going to look into the allegations of villagers.

First Published: Feb 26, 2018 23:47 IST