Health worker arrested for abuse of woman seeking COVID negative certificate

Health worker arrested for abuse of woman seeking COVID negative certificate

Thiruvananthapuram: A day after the shocking news that an ambulance driver had abused a 19-year-old COVID patient, another healthcare worker has been arrested allegedly for an equally gruesome crime.

A junior health inspector attached to Kulathupuzha primary health centre in Kollam district, Pradeep, has been charged with abusing a Kulathupuzha native woman, 44, who wanted a 'COVID-19 negative' certificate to return to her work place in Malappuram.

A case under IPC section 376 (rape) registered against him, the police said.

According to the statement of the victim, Pradeep had asked her to come to his flat at Pangode in Thiruvananthapuram to collect the 'COVID-19 negative' certificate.

The woman in her complaint stated that she went to his house on September 3 and was sexually attacked after being tied up and was allowed to leave only the next day.

A police source in Pangode said Pradeep had denied the charge. The accused, however, admitted that he had called the woman to his house to give the COVID negative certificate.

Kulathupuzha panchayat president Lilabeevi P said she came to know of the incident through the media. "The woman is a home-nurse working in Malappuram. She was asked to go into quarantine after she came back," Lailabeevi said.

It is not clear whether she had completed her quarantine of 14 days.

A police officer of the nearby Pangode police station, meanwhile, said the woman had returned to her home at Kulathupuzha recently and was asked to undergo quarantine by the health inspector.

She also underwent an antigen test which was negative and was told by the man to collect the test certificate from his flat at Barathanoor, the police said.

Ambili Ashokan, the member of Dally ward where the victim lives, said she was unable to contact the victim after her return from Malappuram as her phone was switched off.

Meanwhile, the Women's commission has on its own registered a case against the health inspector and directed the state Health secretary to initiate disciplinary action against him.

Condemning the incident, leader of the opposition in the state assembly Ramesh Chennithala said the two incidents of rape has brought shame to the state.

These incidents shows the "serious lapses" on the part of the health department, he alleged.

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