Maharashtra Andhashraddha Nirmulan Samiti (Mans) will resort to a peaceful agitation if the inhuman treatment meted out to the mentally ill at the dargah in Chalisgaon is not stopped within a month.
Mans has also proposed to provide medical assistance to the mentally ill. According to Mans, mentally ill patients are left at the dargah and made to go through various forms of torture due to the superstition that they can be cured in that way. Mans said the authorities concerned should take action and stop it.
“We will wait for a month. If nothing is done, then we will launch the satyagraha andolan. We are ready to provide medical assistance to the patients,” said founder of Mans, Narendra Dabholkar.
Mans had raised the issue four months ago, yet things did not change. Around 60 mentally ill people are left at the dargah due to lack of awareness of mental health and because of superstition. Mans recently conducted a state-level conference on mental health and superstition at Chalisgaon.
A resolution to create awareness of superstitions concerning the mentally ill and efforts to urge the government to provide better mental care and treatment was passed at the conference.
He lamented that very few government hospitals had full-time psychiatrists. “Out of the total expenditure on health in India, only 1% goes to mental health. We have merely 4,000 psychiatrists in the country. The government needs to pay more attention towards mental health,” he said.
He said torture of mentally ill at shrines was closely related to wrong beliefs. He added that passing the anti-superstition bill was the need of the hour. His meetings with the chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and his deputy Ajit Pawar were positive and he hoped the bill will be passed during the winter session of the state legislature.
He said the bill was opposed by some because they thought it would hurt the faith of people. Mans has published a booklet on the bill and the objections raised to it. Dabholkar has replied to these objections in the booklet, which will be distributed to MLAs on the first day of the winter session of the state assembly. In the assembly, The Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party are
opposing the bill.