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Leprosy patients seek protection of human rights

DNIS News Network -- Leprosy patients face health hazards due to a noxious stench from the dumping ground for animal carcasses, adjacent to their ashram.

About 70 leprosy patients from Nav Jiwan Kusht Ashram near Malout in Muktesar, Punjab have filed a case with the Punjab Human Rights Commission. They have been facing major health hazards due to a noxious stench from the dumping ground for animal carcasses, adjacent to the ashram.

The patients, after failing to get justice from the district administration authority, moved the Punjab Human Rights Commission, demanding justice in the matter. Treating the case filed by the patients as most urgent, the commission has asked Director Health Services (DHS), Punjab, to enquire into the matter at the earliest opportunity.

In the complaint filed the under the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, the patients stated that large-scale pollution has been caused and that patients in the ashram were suffering miserably. The patients were finding it extremely difficult to breathe due to the polluted air. The cured patients also fall under the ambit of the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995, and need complete healthcare.

The indifference of the administration and absence of funds due to inaccessibility of the ashram seems to irk the patients who are forced to look for work, despite their condition. Adding that the donors have stopped visiting the Ashram due to high levels of pollution the patients reiterated the need for better living conditions. There also seems to be no approach road to the ashram, forcing the residents to live in isolation.

The Human Rights Law Network (HRLN), on behalf of the patients, has filed the case under the Human Rights Act. The patients have also requested the commission to issue directions for construction of a road to their ashram.

The plea was accepted by the Punjab Human Rights Commission, which has directed the DHS, Punjab, to look into the matter in collaboration with DC, Mukteswar, and prepare a report on this matter.