The kin of an Assam Rifles soldier has alleged his unit dumped him after he was confirmed as a HIV positive case. The force has refuted this charge, maintaining the rifleman had gone incommunicado before he was traced to a hospital and provided an attendant.
Reports emanating from Nagaland capital Kohima said the rifleman, a Naga, was on October 8 admitted in Naga Hospital, Kohima without prior medical reports. Doctors said they put him on anti-retroviral treatment – meant for HIV+ patients – after his CD4 immunity count was found to be as low as 36.
The rifleman’s sister and brother-in-law alleged they had located him lying virtually unattended in the corridor of a hospital in Guwahati. “We brought him to Kohima and got him admitted,” the sister said.
The Nagaland Network of Positive People assured financial help for the rifleman. He was subsequently shifted to the hospital’s ICU.
Assam Rifles’ Kohima-based spokesman Pallab Choudhury denied the rifleman was dumped by his unit. The soldier was with the 42 Assam Rifles and posted at Imphal in adjoining Manipur.
According to a communiqué mailed to HT by Choudhury, the rifleman was diagnosed for immune surveillance with tubercular lymphadenitis on July 8. On August 19, he was referred to the forces’ TB Hospital in Meghalaya capital Shillong.
The rifleman was in the first week of September admitted to the Military Hospital in Shillong after he complained of lower backache and neck pain. The military hospital discharged him on October 1 for readmission in the Gauhati Medical College Hospital (GMCH). “We assigned rifleman YD Singha as his sick attendant in GMCH, from where he was voluntarily taken away by his kin on October 9 to Dimapur,” the communiqué said.
Dimapur District Hospital, however, refused admission and the rifleman was taken to the Kohima hospital for further treatment. In the meantime, sick attendant Singha returned to his unit from Dimapur. “Neither the rifleman nor his kin subsequently communicated with his unit. It was only after we received a call from a civilian in Dimapur that we came to know the rifleman is in a Kohima hospital. We have dispatched another sick attendant for the rifleman, and we are doing our best to help the patient and his kin.”