Panel chief slams Cheluvamba staff for disclosing identity of rape victim

Ugrappa seeks detailed report from supdt on lapses within 24 hours

Chairman of the Expert Committee on Preventing Sexual Violence against Women and Children V S Ugrappa on Thursday took police officials and authorities of the Special Care Unit of Cheluvamba Hospital to task for not protecting the identity of a three-year-old victim of sexual assault.

The chairman asked hospital Superintendent Dr S Radhamani to submit a detailed report, citing reasons, for the lapses within 24 hours, and directed Deputy Commissioner D Randeep to take suitable measures to avoid such incidents in future. Despite the presence of a Special Care Unit at the hospital, the girl was being treated at a nearly 15-bedded general ward. The girl was sexually assaulted by one of her relatives at a hamlet in H D Kote taluk on January 30 and the police personnel had shifted her to the hospital on the same day. But the hospital authorities continued treatment at a general ward, which is a clear violation of the provisions of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. As per the Act, the victim should be provided medical and legal assistance under Special Care Unit and the identity should be protected.

The special care unit was constituted to offer services under one roof to victims of sexual assault and violence with support from the departments of Women and Child Development, Health and Family Welfare, Police and the District Legal Services Authority. Ugrappa, along with committee members, visited the hospital to enquire about the health of the girl and expressed shock over the lapses. He charged Additional Superintendent of Police Kala Krishnaswamy, hospital Superintendent Dr Radhamani, HD Kote Police Inspector P M Hareesh Kumar and others for the violations. He also questioned their knowledge about POCSO Act.

Complaints galore
A few parents, who have admitted their children, have complained that the hospital authorities force them to buy medicines from medical shops situated outside the hospital. Gagan’s parents said that their son has been undergoing treatment at the intensive care unit (ICU) and the doctors have asked them to bring medicines from a particular medical store. “I have spent almost Rs 15,000 in the past three days but in spite of repeated requests, the doctors are not providing any information about the health of my son.

However, Dr Radhamani claimed that a few medicines are out of stock and the process is on to procure them. Ugrappa directed the hospital authorities to put up boards about the medicines available and also to ensure sufficient supply of medicines.
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