HIV positive family beaten up, thrown out of home

After an NGO disclosed the identity of an HIV-infected couple to their neighbours in Jodhpur, they and their four children have been ostracised and are being forced to sleep on pavements, police said Saturday.

The family has been sleeping on pavements outside the local railway station after their neighbours beat them up and forced them to leave their house when they came to know that they were HIV positive.

The couple lived in Jodhpur's Ambedkar Colony.

Police said a complaint has been registered at Sursagar police station in Jodhpur, 330 km from Jaipur.

"The man and hiswife are HIV infected. An activist of an NGO had come to the couple's house in Ambedkar Colony for counselling them a fortnight ago. He asked for directions to their house from some neighbours and mistakenly disclosed that the couple was suffering from AIDS," a police officer told IANS.

"The neighbours feared that the couple would spread the disease among others in the colony, so they beat them up and forced them to leave. As they had nowhere else to go, they are spending nights in front of a railway station," said the officer.

He added that the police are taking cognizance of the incident and a complaint has been registered through a court under section 107 of the Code of Criminal Procedural (CrPC).

A senior medial and health department officer said that disclosing the identity of an HIV-infected person is punishable under law.

"The victims or their family can register a first information report against people who disclose the identity of an AIDS patient," said the officer.

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