Police in Assam’s Charaideo district detained two persons on Monday in connection with the alleged abduction, rape of a woman last week while she was walking home from hospital after testing negative for Covid.
According to the police, the incident occurred on May 27 when the woman, who is in her 40s and belongs to the tea-tribe community, was abducted by two persons and raped. Her daughter, around 18-20 years of age, managed to escape.
Some reports say the women, both of whom had tested negative for Covid after spending a week in the hospital, were forced to walk home after they were denied an ambulance by the authorities. HT couldn’t independently verify this.
“The incident took place around 7pm on May 27. The woman was abducted by two persons who later raped her inside a tea-garden. Her daughter managed to flee…We were informed about the incident on May 29,” said Sudhakar Singh, superintendent of police, Charaideo.
“Based on the information provided by the survivor and our investigation, we picked up two persons on Monday morning in connection with the incident. More details will be available after their interrogation,” he added.
The woman’s medical examination report is awaited.
The women were discharged from Sapekhati Model Hospital in the district. Officials denied allegations that their request to spend the night at the hospital (as curfew was underway) was turned down by hospital authorities, forcing them to walk home.
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Health officials in Charaideo also maintained that as per the state government guidelines, hospitals are not required to provide ambulances to those who have recovered from Covid. “Our guidelines don’t require allotment of ambulances to Covid patients to go home after testing negative [and] the women didn’t ask to be allowed to spend the night in the hospital,” said Dr Nizara Devi, joint director health, Charaideo.
“It’s a government hospital and they could have easily stayed here for a night, if they had asked. Even the woman’s husband had spent a night in the hospital after his test report came negative (as he couldn’t return home due to curfew). We are conducting an inquiry into the allegations,” she added.
In Assam, curfew is enforced in urban areas from 12pm to 5am daily. In rural areas, curfew is imposed from 2pm to 5am daily.
The Opposition, Congress, blamed the state government for the incident and said that despite assurances by chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma about safety of women being the government’s top priority, such crimes were taking place frequently.
“The mother- daughter were left to fend for themselves when lockdown was in place. Wasn’t it the responsibility of the hospital and local authorities to see that the woman and her daughter reached home safely?” Bobbeeta Sharma, in-charge of Assam Congress media department, said.