Another health worker in Kerala charged with sexual assault

Pradeep, a junior health inspector, has allegedly sexually assaulted a woman who was under observation for COVID-19.
Rep image of sexual assault
Rep image of sexual assault
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Even as Kerala is reeling from shock over the rape of a female COVID-19 patient by an ambulance driver, another such incident has been reported on Monday. A junior health inspector has allegedly sexually assaulted a young woman who was under observation for COVID-19. Pradeep from Bharathannoor in Pangode, Thiruvananthapuram has been arrested. Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja instructed the Health Department to immediately dismiss him.

The complaint said that Pradeep had assaulted the woman when she came to his house to collect her COVID-19 negative certificate. Pradeep is an active member of an NGO association of the Congress party.

A report in Manorama Online suggests that the woman is a home nurse from Malappuram and wanted the certificate to return to her hometown. Pradeep is reportedly a staff of the primary health centre in Kulathupuzha, Kollam. The woman was allegedly abused after he invited her to the flat.

The incident came into light a day after the horrifying news of the rape of a female COVID-19 patient by an ambulance driver while she was being taken to a hospital in Pathanamthitta. Noufal has been immediately terminated from service and arrested. It later emerged that he was accused in a murder case previously and this brought the question of how ambulance drivers are hired in the first place. The health department revealed that while the appointed drivers had to submit a police clearance certificate at the time of joining, a few reports were pending submission. Noufal had submitted proof of applying for the clearance certificate at a police station when he joined.

The Kerala Women's Commission has taken suo moto cases in both incidents. Chairperson MC Josephine demanded that disciplinary action should be taken against Pradeep and asked the Thiruvananthapuram Rural Superintendent of Police to urgently prepare a report. Legal proceedings will be initiated soon after the report is submitted. They are also moving ahead with the case against Noufal. Josephine asked the Health Secretary to ensure that officials strictly follow protocol to prevent such incidents in the future.

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