DCPCR shoots letter to DDMA, suggests safety measures to protect COVID-19 patients

New Delhi: After a 14-year-old COVID-19 patient was allegedly raped by two other Coronavirus patients inside the Sardar Patel COVID Care Centre, the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) has now suggested guidelines and safety measures that healthcare facilities and quarantine centres for Coronavirus patients should put in place to ensure the safety and security of all patients.

Calling attention to the rape of the minor girl inside the South Delhi COVID facility, the DCPCR has shot off a letter to the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA), noting that they had taken suo-motu cognizance of the news reports of the rape. "Considering the seriousness of the matter, Commission advises that the following points, measures be taken into account for the safety and security of inmates so that no untoward incidence takes place," read the letter.

Some measures suggested by the DCPCR include proper lighting of all isolated spots inside the facility, as much CCTV coverage of the facility as possible and a sufficient number of female staff members.

The DCPCR was of the view that an adequate number of female staff members among other things, including the appropriate positioning of civil defence personnel, would go a long way in ensuring the safety and security of the patients. It also said that isolated and secluded spots within the facility should be well-lit, guarded and regularly visited.

"Separate washroom areas for males and females be provided at a considerable distance from each other. If possible, separate enclosures are provided for male and female habitats. Personnel on duty at COVID centres be sensitised about child-related issues," DCPCR's letter to the DDMA said. The Commission also suggested that the Childline number - 1098 - be displayed at prominent places within these centres.

DCPCR Chairperson Anurag Kundu said that after the incident came to light, they had written to the DDMA about the precautions that should be taken by authorities for the protection of patients. "Our main motto is to ensure the safety of the children. Any crime with children is being taken seriously. We will ensure their fundamental rights are not violated," he said adding that they had also suggested that the DDMA enhance safety and security measures and several specific COVID Centres here.

After the incident, the DCPCR had sought a report from the Station House Officer (SHO) at Maidan Garhi police station regarding the action taken, sought a copy of the MLC, FIR, counselling report, any order issued by CWC, a statement under Section 164 of CrPC, action taken against the accused and any other information related to the case.

While this is not the only incident of a woman or a child being sexually assaulted inside a COVID facility in India, the DCPCR's suggestions, if implemented by the disaster management authority, could set a precedent for other states to follow suit.

In July, the Panvel Taluka police (Mumbai) had booked a 25-year-old COVID-19 patient for allegedly raping a 40-year-old woman at a quarantine facility at Kon village in Panvel. In Ahmedabad, police had booked an unidentified person for allegedly molesting a 14-year-old boy at a COVID Care Centre in Bhavnagar where his mother was admitted as a Coronavirus patient. And in yet another case from Mumbai, a 33-year-old Juhu resident was arrested by police for allegedly molesting an on-duty female doctor at an Andheri COVID Care Centre.

Next Story
Share it