Kerala: Sexual assault of COVID-19 patient, police arrest man accused

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Thiruvananthapuam: Kerala police have arrested an ambulance assistant in Malappuram district on charges of sexually assaulting a 38-year-old COVID-19 patient in the ambulance. The arrested person has been identified as Prashanth of Pullamanthole in Malapuram district.

The offender was arrested on Saturday by the Perinthalmanna police after the woman told her doctor about the incident which had taken place on April 27. The woman said that as she was too weak following COVID-19 related complications and pneumonia, was not able to lodge the complaint earlier.

Police officials told IANS that the woman was assaulted while she was being taken from a hospital to a nearby scanning centre during late night on April 27. The attendant boarded the ambulance in the backside along with the patient and the woman complained that he started harassing her immediately after the vehicle left the hospital premises.

The woman was too weak to resist his advances, according to the complaint she had lodged with the Pernthalmanna police.

The woman who is undergoing treatment at a hospital in Wandoor, Malappuram district narrated the ordeal to the doctors who asked her to lodge a formal complaint with the police. The police immediately sprung into action and arrested the culprit. 

Accused Prashanth, according to police, has confessed to his crime and is now under judicial custody.

This is not the first time that the state has witnessed such an incident. During the first wave of the pandemic, a 19-year-old COVID-19 patient was raped in an ambulance by the driver while she was being shifted to a first line treatment centre. The incident took place at Aranmula and police later arrested the ambulance driver Noufal based on the complaint of the woman.