Two years after a 25-year-old speech-impaired woman was raped in a civic hospital at Bhosari, the watchman accused in the case is out on bail, the ward boy arrested for abetting the crime is in jail, the trial drags on, and the victim has been religiously coming to the court for hearings.
The case has often drawn parallels with the Aruna Shanbaug case. Shanbaug too had been raped in a hospital by hospital staffer.
Shanbaug, who has been in a vegetative state for 42 years after the assault, died on Monday.
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Shanbaug was a nurse at the Mumbai hospital but in this case, the victim was a patient, an orphan living in a shelter home. The victim was admitted to the hospital run at Bhosari by the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) on August 26, 2013 after high fever. She was allegedly raped in the lift of the hospital on the evening of August 29, 2013 by the watchman of the hospital. Bhosari police had arrested the watchman, Pramod Mandekar, and a ward boy, Shailesh Jadhav.
Jadhav was suspended by PCMC and Mandekar, who was employed through a contractor, was sacked. There has been some confusion over who among the two had raped the woman.
Jyoti Pathania, who ran the shelter home, said they have shifted the victim out of Pune. “But she continues to be present during the trial. So far there have been six hearings. During one of the hearings, the victim identified the rapist.”
Pathania said the watchman got bail three months after the incident, but the ward boy is still in jail. “The victim seems determined to punish the wrongdoers. Though several hearings could not be held due to various reasons, the victim religiously comes to the court.”
Senior police inspector Chandrakant Bhosale said, “The trial is on…It is true that the rapist has got bail. These things are in the domain of the court. We cannot comment. I will confer with the public prosecutor. Only then will I be in a position to give a full update on the case,” he said.
The victim had lost her parents and had been staying in women’s shelter. On August 26, she was admitted to hospital. On August 29, at around 8.30 pm, Mandekar and Jadhav took the victim to the hospital lift on the pretext of shifting her. They opened the lift with the help of an extra key and allegedly committed the act, the complaint to the police said.
The victim returned to the shelter home after being discharged on August 31. The shelter home staff said the victim started crying when they decided to shift her to YCM Hospital for further treatment. Through sign language, she conveyed that she was sexually assaulted and also identified the suspects. The shelter home staff had filed a complaint with the PCMC and the police.
The watchman was slapped with Section 376 (rape) of the IPC, and the ward boy was charged under section 109 (abetment).