Hry: Mentally-challenged woman sexually harassed

  • Sat Singh, Hindustan Times, Rohtak
  • Updated: Dec 15, 2014 13:52 IST

At a time when safety of women is the talking point across the country, a rape bid on a 30-year-old mentally-challenged woman admitted to the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (PGIMS) here is being given a quiet burial. Courtesy, the apathy of medical authorities and shoddy police probe.

The PGIMS authorities reported the matter to police four days after the incident occurred, giving sufficient time to accused to influence the case. The social organisation, where the accused used to work had washed it hands of the incident by firing the accused and without reporting the matter to the police or PGIMS authorities.

The police, too, are apparently going easy on the accused citing it to be a doubtful case as they have not been able to record the statement of the victim as of yet.

The accused, identified as Rajesh Kumar (30), a resident of Singpura village in Rohtak district, who was hired by Hari Om Sewa Dal (HOSD) as a caretaker, is roaming free without any guilt or fear by police action.

As per details, the victim was admitted at PGIMS emergency ward by an unidentified person claiming to be his brother on December 6. He later abandoned her without informing anyone.

HOSD, a social organisation engaged in taking care of abandoned people who are admitted to Rohtak medical college, had assigned the accused, a habitual drunkard, the responsibility to tend to the victim on the night she was admitted to the hospital with multiple injuries. The role of attendant is to help the patient who is under intoxicated due to drugs, change her clothes, feed her and give medicine on time.

Around 2.30am on December 7, some women patients in the same ward heard the shrieks of the victim, and saw the accused, who was drunk at that time, allegedly trying to force himself on the victim.

‘He threatened us’

“We woke up on hearing the shrieks of the mentally-challenged woman, while the attendant was trying to keep her silent by covering her mouth. When we tried to intervene, the accused pounced on us and threatened us,” said a woman patient who was admitted to the same ward. When they raised the alarm and called for help, the accused slipped away, the woman added while requesting anonymity. HOSD in-charge Jagdish Kumar told HT that after the incident they fired Rajesh. On the reason behind throwing him out of job, he said they had received complaints against him that he remains drunk on job and he was in inebriated condition on that night also.

PGIMS apathy

A complaint in this regard was lodged by PGIMS security in-charge Badam Singh on December 11 night, four days after the incident. Badam Singh said ward nurses Anita and Indu told him that the accused had misbehaved with victim in the wee hours of December 7. Asked about the reason behind submitting complaint in a criminal case so late, he could not give a satisfactory reply.

However, after police registered a case against accused Rajesh Kumar under Section 354 (outraging modesty of woman) of the IPC, the PGIMS authorities set up a medical board to examine the patient. Authorities have not taken any action against the medical or security staff for reporting the matter late despite women safety issues being the priority of the institution.

Social organisations under lens

Three social organisations — Hari Om Sewa Dal, Jan Sewa Sansthan, Mahadev Sewa Sangh — operate on the PGIMS premises to provide assistance to unidentified persons, including women. None of them have sufficient woman staff.

Jagdish Kumar, in-charge of Hari Om Sewa Dal, told HT that woman attendants prefer to work in day time and they have two female attendants against eight males. On deputing a male attendant for a mentally-challenged woman in this case, he said they had to do so due to the staff crunch. Sources said most of the time male attendants were deputed as caretakers for the female patients. Such patients without any support are not able to resist molestation bid while their clothes are being changed as they remain intoxicated under the influence of drugs.

What police say

Assistant sub-inspector at PGIMS police post, Narender Singh said they could not record the statement of the victim owing to her mental condition and no one is coming forward as eyewitness.

The patients who were admitted to the same ward were also dragging their feet by not coming out with their statements on record. The nurses on duty, Indu and Anita, also said they did not see anything and just know of the chaos created after the incident. The ASI said though probe is on, they have not taken any action against the accused owing to lack of evidence in the case.

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