A lab technician in Maharashtra has been arrested for taking taking a vaginal swab of a woman on pretext of COVID test. According to the technician, the same could give an accurate result and hence, it was necessary. On July 28, local police arrested the accused man from Amravati district of Maharashtra under charges of rape and molestation.
The incident took place at the Trauma Care Testing Lab (TCTL) of the Badnera government hospital in the Amravati district. The victim and her colleagues were asked to take the COVID-19 test as one of their co-workers from the mall had tested positive. Hence, the woman along with twenty others, went to TCTL for taking a COVID-19 test.
After the test was taken, the woman received a call from the lab technician, who asked her to come to the hospital for another test. He said she had tested positive, however, for ‘accurate result’ she will have to take another test. He had called the woman for taking a vaginal swab. When the lady questioned the technician if there was any other woman who was required to do the same, he responded in negative.
The woman went to the lab for the second test. The lab technician who was working on contract at the hospital was identified as Alpesh Deshmukh, who had taken a nose-swab of the woman in the first test, and thereafter, when she came for the second time, he took her to a room and took a swab from her private parts. The final report for COVID tested negative.
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The woman had asked for a female technician, to which he said was not available. The woman grew suspicious about the whole incident and informed her brother about the same. The victim’s brother contacted a doctor, who confirmed that there is no such test required for the COVID-19 result. Also, vaginal swab tests are definitely not done for COVID. Once the woman learnt about this, she approached the police and filed a complaint against the accused.
Badnera police station inspector in-charge Punjab Wanjari said,
The complainant worked at a mall in Amravati. After one of the staff members there tested positive for coronavirus on July 24, nasal swabs of 20 to 25 other staff members, including the complainant, were taken at a testing center.
After the woman filed the complaint, the police on July 28, arrested the lab technician under:
- Section 354 (assault or criminal force on woman with intent to outrage her modesty)
- Section 376 (rape) of the IPC
Collector Shailesh Naval has also confirmed that the accused lab technician had been arrested by Badnera police. Maharashtra Women and Child Development Minister, Yashomati Thakur said,
The technician has been booked under IPC sections 354 and 376, and he will not be spared. Such a test is not done and this is an atrocity against the woman.
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She also pointed out how horrible such an incident is and that it was shocking something like this came from the district that gave the country its first woman President (Pratibha Patil). Thakur, who is also the Guardian Minister of Amravati, said strict action will be taken against the accused.
SECTION 376 OF IPC
- Whoever, except in the cases provided for in sub-section (2), commits rape, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not he less than seven years, but which may extend to imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.
- Whoever, —
- being a police officer, commits rape—within the limits of the police station to which such police officer is appointed; or in the premises of any station house; or on a woman in such police officer’s custody or in the custody of a police officer subordinate to such police officer; or
- being a public servant, commits rape on a woman in such public servant’s custody or in the custody of a public servant subordinate to such public servant; or
- being a member of the armed forces deployed in an area by the Central or a State Government commits rape in such area; or
- being on the management or on the staff of a jail, remand home or other place of custody established by or under any law for the time being in force or of a women’s or children’s institution, commits rape on any inmate of such jail, remand home, place or institution; or
- being on the management or on the staff of a hospital, commits rape on a woman in that hospital; or
- being a relative, guardian or teacher of, or a person in a position of trust or authority towards the woman, commits rape on such woman; or
- commits rape during communal or sectarian violence; or
- commits rape on a woman knowing her to be pregnant; or
- commits rape on a woman when she is under sixteen years of age; or
- commits rape, on a woman incapable of giving consent; or
- being in a position of control or dominance over a woman, commits rape on such woman; or
- commits rape on a woman suffering from mental or physical disability; or
- while committing rape causes grievous bodily harm or maims or disfigures or endangers the life of a woman; or
- commits rape repeatedly on the same woman, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than ten years, but which may extend to imprisonment for life, which shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of that person’s natural life, and shall also be liable to fine.