Thursday, June 3, 2010

Nuns help sick dumped in tiger reserve

A Catholic hospital in Karnataka is treating mentally challenged people, abandoned by their family members in a tiger reserve in the state.
The families pay the truckers to dump their mentally challenged members on forlorn stretches of a road running through Karnataka’s Bandipur National Park, a tiger reserve 220 kilometers southwest of Bangalore, the Hindustan Times reported.
Besides the families, police in the neighboring states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala are also accused of paying truckers to get rid of such people they pick up from the streets, the report said quoting NGOs working in the region.
Many of these hapless victims have been killed by wild animals or sexually abused by truckers. Lacking basic survival skills, many of them have even set forest fires.
Some lucky ones have survived after villagers reached them in the Church-run Karunalaya Hospital, in Nanjangud town on the edges of the park. The hospital now has 57 patients, 32 of them women; six of them pregnant and five HIV positive.
“One or two such people are brought to us every week,” said Sister Hillary, doctor-in-charge of the hospital.
“They are being treated for a range of ailments from advanced schizophrenia to delusion to paranoia, apart from being provided food and shelter,” said another doctor at the hospital.
According to the locals, the trend of dumping the mentally ill began in 2007. Truckers sexually abuse mentally ill women, before dumping them in the forest.
These people mostly hail from West Bengal, Orissa, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

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