Mumbai: A lab technician in Maharashtra's Amravati district has been arrested for rape after he allegedly took swab samples from a woman's private parts during a coronavirus test, the police said on Thursday.
The incident took place at Badnera in the district.
While Women and Child Development Minister Yashomati Thakur said strict action will be taken against the accused, Shiv Sena spokesperson Manisha Kayande demanded measures to ensure the security of women at COVID hospitals/centres.
The complainant works at a mall. After one of the staff members tested positive for coronavirus on July 24, nasal swabs of 20 to 25 other employees were taken at a testing centre, inspector Punjab Wanjari of Badnera police station told PTI.
After taking a nasal swab of the complainant, the technician allegedly took a swab sample from her private parts, he said.
After the woman lodged a complaint, the accused was arrested on Tuesday night under IPC sections 354 (assault or criminal force on woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and 376 (rape), the police officer said.
Minister Yashomati Thakur said stringent action will be taken in the case.
"The technician has been booked under IPC Sections 354 and 376, and he will not be spared. Such a test is not done and this is an atrocity (against the woman)," she said.
Thakur, who is also the guardian minister of Amravati, said it was shocking that such an incident took place in the district which gave the country its first woman President (Pratibha Patil).
Minister of State for Home Shambhuraje Desai said he will speak to local police officers and ensure that a watertight case is presented against the accused in court.
Sena spokesperson Manisha Kayande said there should be a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for COVID Care Centers where women are admitted so that issues of security and hygiene are taken care of.
There have been cases of women patients getting molested at such centers, she pointed out.
Women's ward should not be on upper floors of hospital/centre where a call for help might not be heard but should be located on the ground floor, she said.
Women police personnel should be deployed at such places, the Sena leader added.
"What the lab technician in Amravati has done amounts to rape," Kayande said, demanding harsh punishment for the accused.