Rekha P, one of the COVID-19 volunteers in Alappuzha who recently made news after she along with another youth shifted an ailing COVID-19 patient to a hospital on bike to save time, has filed complaint against television commentator Sreejith Panickar alleging that his Facebook post on the incident was demoralising. Sreejith Panickar, a right wing TV commentator in Kerala, had made what many pointed out where rape jokes on COVID-19 volunteers shifting a patient to hospital on a bike during an emergency.
The incident happened on Friday, when Rekha P and Aswin Kunjumon, volunteers at a COVID-19 domiciliary care centre at Punnapra in Alappuzha district, found a patient in a deteriorating condition at the centre. Knowing that the ambulance will take 10 minutes to come to the spot to shift the patient to hospital, Rekha and Aswin donned Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and shifted the ailing man to a hospital on a bike. The incident garnered attention with many lauding the youth for their courageous timely act to save the life of a person.
Meanwhile, Sreejith Panickar in a Facebook post said, âSince the patient was made to sit in between the rider and person sitting behind, the necessary care and treatment was available throughout. Imagine jam spread in between two pieces of bread,â he wrote on Facebook, mocking the incident.
He further mocked saying that there had been instances of patients being raped in ambulances but since it was a bike in this case, there were no such instances. âThere is no opportunity for that on a bike. The personâs life and dignity will be protected,â Sreejith wrote.
Speaking to TNM, Rekha said that the post was demoralising to all women. âWe only tried to save the life of a patient, and for that, this is what he has said. Tomorrow, if such an incident happened requiring some urgent action, volunteers especially women will express inhibition thinking about the reaction of people like him. That is why I gave a complaint,â said Rekha.
The complaint has been filed at the Punnapra police station in Alappuzha. Police officials confirmed receiving the complaint and stated that it is being looked into.
Many have taken to social media calling out the abusive post. âI will not participate in any of the channel debates in which Mr Sreejith Panicker is a panelist, unless Mr Panicker makes an unequivocal apology for the rape joke he made in connection with the hospitalization of a COVID patient in Kerala,â Supreme Court advocate Resmitha Ramachandran wrote on Facebook. Sreejith however has reacted saying he was criticizing the government and many of his supporters say he was only using 'satire'.