Maharashtra lab technician held for taking vaginal swab for Covid test


Amravati (Maharashtra): In a shocking development, a government hospital lab technician allegedly took a vaginal swab from a woman for conducting a Covid-19 test, officials said on Thursday. He has now been arrested for molestation and rape.

The incident occurred on Tuesday, when the 23-year-old complainant had gone for a Covid test at the Trauma Care Testing Lab of the Badnera government hospital in the district, said Investigating Officer Punjab Wanjari.

The woman, a mall employee, turned out to be a contact of a colleague who tested Covid-19 positive, and was sent along with 20 others to the TCTL for a corona test.

After the test, the technician – identified as Alpesh A. Deshmukh, 30 – called up the woman to inform her that the Covid test was positive and she was required to undergo another test – a vaginal swab.

“When she asked whether there are any female technicians for the second test, the accused replied in the negative, but allowed her to bring a female companion if she wanted,” said Wanjari.

Deshmukh took the swab and later informed her that the test was negative, which aroused suspicions in her mind.

The woman subsequently confided in her brother, who enquired with a doctor and confirmed that there are no vaginal swab tests involved for Covid.

“She immediately lodged a complaint and we arrested the accused. He was produced before a court and has been remanded to police custody till July 31,” Wanjari told IANS.

The incident sparked off a furore with Maharashtra Women & Child Development Yashomati Thakur – who is also Guardian Minister of Amravati district – demanding the most stringent punishment for the accused.

“The accused technician has been booked under IPC’s Sections 354 and 376. He will not be spared. This is shocking that such an incident can take place in a district which gave India its first woman President (Pratibha Patil),” Thakur said in a statement.

Strongly condemning the incident, Bhumata Ranragini Brigade President Trupti Desai said besides the first women President, Amravati district has a woman Minister and Guardian Minister, and woman MP Navneet Kaur-Rana, which made it all the more shocking, and wondered what will be situation elsewhere.

“This is a sheer atrocity on the dignity of a woman. We urged the government to immediately clear the proposed Disha Law to deter such culprits,” Desai told.

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