A shocking incident has surfaced in Amravati, where a Covid-19 laboratory technician reportedly took vaginal swabs from a 23-year-old woman for testing, officials said on Thursday. He has been arrested for molestation and rape, following a complaint.
The police produced the technician, Alpesh Deshmukh, in court, which remanded him in police custody till July 31.
The woman had decided to get herself tested as she was one of the contacts of a mall employee who was found positive. Subsequently, the mall operator had asked all employees and their contacts to get tested for Covid.
The incident took place on Tuesday, at the trauma care centre laboratory of the government hospital at Badnera.
Minister of Women and Child Welfare Yashomati Thakur, who is also the guardian minister of Amravati, has taken serious note of the incident and assured stern action against the technician. Thakur told The Free Press Journal, ‘‘It is so unfortunate that the incident took place in Amravati, the district which gave India its first woman President. I have directed the police to take strict action against the culprit. Offences against the technician have been registered under sections 354 and 376 of the Indian Penal Code.’’
Thakur said the state government has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to abuse of women. ‘‘Strict action will be taken against those indulging in such activities,’’ she noted.
According to police sources, the technician first carried out a routine swab and called her to say that her test was positive. He insisted on a second, vaginal swab test. When the woman asked whether a female technician would be present at the time of the second test, the technician replied in the negative. But he asked her to bring a female companion along, if she desired.
He reportedly obtained the vaginal swab and later informed her, she had tested negative. Becoming suspicious, she narrated the incident to her brother, who enquired with a doctor whether a vaginal swab was required to detect Covid-19. When the doctor told them it was not needed, the woman filed a police complaint.
The incident comes at a time when more than 20 lakh samples have been tested across the state.
Strongly condemning the incident, Bhumata Ranragini Brigade President Trupti Desai said besides the first woman President, Amravati district has a woman guardian minister and a woman MP, Navneet Kaur-Rana, which made it all the more shocking, and if this was the situation in Amravati, what would it be like, elsewhere.
"This is sheer atrocity on the dignity of a woman. We have urged the government to immediately clear the proposed Disha Law to deter such culprits," Desai said.