Two women die at Patna shelter home after ‘illness’, police awaiting autopsy reports
A 40-year-old woman and an 18-year-old girl from the Asra shelter home in Patna died in the Patna Medical College and Hospitalindia Updated: Aug 12, 2018 18:59 IST
Two women living in a government-funded shelter home here have died of illness, and police said Sunday they were waiting for the autopsy reports to see if there was any negligence on part of the shelter’s authorities.
The two women — Naushma alias Babli, 40, and Poonam Bharti, 18 — staying at ‘Aasra Grih’ in Rajeev Nagar locality, were suffering from high fever and acute diarrhoea respectively, and died at the Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) on Friday where they were taken after their condition deteriorated, said Manisha Dayal, treasurer of the Anumaya Human Resources Foundation, the NGO running the shelter home.
She ruled out any foul play or negligence, claiming the two women were being treated by a doctor, empanelled with the shelter home, for the past 3-4 days. She, however, could not recollect the doctor’s name.
“The doctor had advised a series of blood tests, after which medicines were prescribed and we provided them to both women,” Dayal said, but admitted that the two had not been given medicines on Friday, as all shelter home employees were at the Rajeev Nagar police station after some neighbours made a bid to free some girls earlier in the day.
Police had arrested Nagina Singh, 55, who lived close to the shelter home, for allegedly trying to lure four inmates to run away with him.
“We were all at the police station and the house maid, who is illiterate, did not know about the medicines to be given to the two women. We rushed the two women to the PMCH after we returned from the police station in the evening and saw their condition. While Babli was declared brought dead, Poonam was put on ventilator support but died soon thereafter,” said Dayal.
She also said that maid did not have a mobile phone, and thus could not inform them about the women’s condition.
Police, however, disputed Dayal’s claim.
Patna’s senior superintendent of police (SSP), Manu Maharaaj, said: “It was at the instance of the police that the two women were provided medicines (while the shelter home employees were at the police station) on Friday. Our personnel bought the medicines and gave them to the women who were unwell.”
He said it was a matter of investigation if the shelter home staff had provided medication to the women earlier. “We are awaiting autopsy report of the medical board at the PMCH. That can be the only scientific basis of a probe,” he added.
PMCH medical superintendent Dr Rajiv Ranjan Prasad said the women were brought dead to the hospital late on Friday.
“Babli and Poonam Bharti were brought dead to the PMCH at 9.30 p.m. on August 10. We informed the police, which lodged a case, made an inquest and sent the bodies for post-mortem examination. The post-mortem reports are expected either tomorrow or day after. Their viscera have been preserved for police investigation,” he said.
Dayal, who was admitted at a health facility after she reported feeling ‘unwell’, reiterated there was no negligence by the shelter home staff.
“At any point of time, I did not try to conceal anything. I had informed the assistant director of child protection unit over telephone about the women being unwell. Subsequently, after their death, I again informed officials of the social welfare department telephonically and also through e-mail as also the Gandhi Maidan police station,” she added.
Dayal also denied allegations that the women at the shelter home had tried to escape. “Our inmates never tried to escape. Some of our neighbours tried to persuade them to flee from the shelter home by providing our inmates with saws, cutters, etc. But none of the women,” she added.
The shelter, established earlier this year, used to house 76 women. Babli was there since April 16 and Bharti from August 1.
Efforts to contact the director, social welfare department, Raj Kumar, proved futile. In response to this reporter’s repeated phone calls, he sent an SMS saying “Please text me”. He, however, did not respond to HT’s text message, seeking his comments on the death of the two women at ‘Aasra Grih’.
Shelters in Bihar are in the news after 34 minor girls at a ‘Balika Grih’ in Muzaffarpur were allegedly raped. Eleven inmates are reported missing from a ‘Swadhar Grih’ (shelter for women above 18 years of age) in Muzaffarpur, while a girl had gone missing from a shelter home in Madhubani.
First Published: Aug 12, 2018 15:59 IST