Mane not under any treatment, is ‘mentally-fit’: Yerawada officials

Yerawada Jail officials have categorically said Santosh Mane, the ST bus driver whose reckless driving killed nine persons, was mentally fit. "He is not undergoing any treatment and has been in the jail," officials said.

At the Regional Mental Hospital in Yerawada where Mane was initially sent for a 10-day observation, Superintendent Vilas Bhailume told Newsline that he was not sent back later to the hospital. "He has been in the Yerawada jail since then," authorities said. At the mental hospital nearly 30-35 prisoners are lodged in the ward for criminal patients. When contacted in connection with Mane case, Additional Director General (Prisons) Meeran Borwankar said there has been "no problem" at Yerawada jail in the last six months.

Health authorities at the Yerawada jail said of the 3,500 prisoners lodged in the jail, at least 150-200 sought treatment during the daily out patient department (OPD) held on the premises. While skin diseases and back ache form a major part of the complaints, medical personnel also assess those who complain about stress and depression.

Borwankar said all the major prisons in the country have appointed psychiatrists and at Pune too there is a team that works round-the-clock to conduct assessments and if the prisoners are severely ill, they are referred to Sassoon Hospital. In cases of severe mental disorders, they are referred to the Regional Mental Hospital at Yerawada.

The severity of mental disorders varies and some require treatment, while counselling sessions are vital for those who face depression and other stress-related situations, Dr Sanjay Kumawat, member secretary of the State Mental Health Authority, said. "There is still lack of awareness about mental disorders. We are planning to instruct doctors examining patients from stressful jobs specially in the government sector like transport and even police department to check if there are any links related to mental illness while treating physical symptoms like sleep disturbance, chronic fatigue, appetite loss and headache. "Doctors should investigate such symptoms for further investigation," Kumawat said.

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