On Thursday, November 18, two male physicians from Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH) were detained. One of them is suspected of raping a coworker, while the other is accused of molesting a coworker. Both incidences occurred in August of this year, when the doctors were in hotel quarantine for COVID-19 duty.
According to a press note released by the Chennai police on Thursday, the two women doctors were on COVID-19 duty in August this year, and had been put in quarantine at a private hotel in Chennai’s T Nagar. In the first incident, Dr S Vetriselvan (35) working at RGGGH had barged into the hotel room where a woman doctor was staying and allegedly raped her. In the second incident, Dr N Mohanraj (28) of the same hospital molested another woman doctor who was also in quarantine at the hotel.
According to the complaint filed by the women to the Chennai police commissioner, the two doctors have been arrested. The Flower Bazaar police have registered a case for inquiry. The two accused have been remanded to judicial custody.
According to Shanthi Ravindranath, a member of the Doctors’ Association for Social Equality (DASE), there should be zero tolerance for such horrible acts, and sexual harassment instances in the healthcare field are on the rise.
“DASE has been urging for women safety for a long time as majority of health care workers are currently women. The working condition for women during the pandemic only worsened the already existing unsafe situation for women in the medical field,”said Shanthi.
Shanthi also said that DASE along with Tamil Nadu Medical Students Association (TNMSA) has taken the issue of sexual harassment in medical colleges and hospitals to higher officials in the state.
“Mere transferring the accused will not bring any solution. The person committing such crime should be punished as per law. Committees such as ‘Health care workers’ welfare committee’ and a ‘state-level harassment prevention committee’ should be formed. Importantly, Vishaka committee should properly function at each office,”added Shanthi.
On November 17, a 55-year-old doctor in Karur was booked for sexually assaulting a minor girl in the hospital. The doctor has been booked under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act for abusing the minor girl who is reportedly the daughter of a staff working at the hospital.
Another rape incident that was reported recently in Chennai city was on November 4 when a 23-year-old man allegedly raped a minor girl. The accused in this case is said to have started a conversation with the minor through Instagram. The police through investigation said that the minor exchanged numbers with the accused through an Instagram handle. “The accused S Gopinath of Thiruvarur had called the minor to Chennai and raped her in a lodge,” said the police. The police arrested the accused after the minor informed her parents about the incident, who then filed a complaint with the All Women police station.