The Meerut police have chained to a hospital bed an undertrial drug addict who is also HIV positive.
The undertrial, Harish Chand, is at the medical college hospital in the town for surgery in his left hand. He was wounded in a bomb explosion over a year ago. The wound having refused to heal while in custody, he was taken to the district hospital in Ghaziabad, where a routine blood test showed he was HIV positive. He was referred to the medical college hospital for surgery in October.
R.P. Aggarwal, head of the department of orthopaedics at the hospital refused to comment on whether the chaining was necessary medically. It was totally a “matter for the police”, he said.
B.P. Singh, SP, Meerut, said: “The police can employ any means to prevent an undertrial from escaping.” The cops guarding Chand at the hospital said the step had also been taken to ensure he did not “spread the virus to other people”.
Chand, once a skilled halwai of Hapur in Ghaziabad, reportedly took to drugs after being jilted in love. The Ghaziabad police arrested him for taking drugs after they were drawn to him by a crude bomb that went off and injured his hand.
At the hospital’s Ward number 3, Chand is unchained for a few hours every morning to go to the bathroom. He returns obediently to his bed, locks himself up, and gives the key to one of his two police guards. He gives no indication of wanting to escape, as the police fear he might. “Several” undertrials have escaped from hospitals in the area recently, they say.
Dr Aggarwal said the operation had been successful. The hospital is watching how he recovers, he said. But he also expressed surprise that Chand should have had to be referred to him for relatively minor surgery.