A disability rights NGO in Goa on Tuesday filed a complaint with the state police, alleging that beggars and mentally ill persons were kept locked in a "cage" in a church compound in North Goa's Agacaim area, near the state capital.
While the police have started an enquiry into the complaint, the Disability Rights Association of Goa, a local NGO has maintained that the occupants of the "cage" were homeless persons, including beggars, picked up from the streets by a social service organisation and housed in the confined area.
"We have received a complaint from concerned citizens that mentally ill persons and beggars are illegally confined in a cage in the church premises. Confinement of the mentally ill persons is a criminal offence under the Mental Health Act 2017," DRAG convenor Avelino D'Sa told reporters in Panaji.
Following the receipt of the complaint, officials of the Agacaim police station conducted spot enquiries and are currently in the process of questioning the inmates with the help of mental health specialists.
"Enquiries are going on," police inspector in-charge of the Agacaim police station told IANS. Police sources said that there were around nine inmates in the barricaded area in the church premises, at least three of whom are mentally ill.
"They were picked up from the streets by an NGO and kept there as part of their rehabilitation. They are also being provided with food and medication by the NGO," police sources said.
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