A month after a woman doctor was molested by a convict in Tihar Jail, the Delhi government has ordered the transfer of 26 female nurses posted in the premises.
In its order dated October 26, signed by the Superintendent (HR-Nursing), Department of Health and Family Welfare, the nurses have been moved to Deen Dayal Upadhyay (DDU) Hospital while 26 male nurses from DDU hospital have been posted to Tihar with “immediate effect”.
Officials said the government had taken a serious view of the molestation incident. They added that concern over the security of all female staff working in the male convicts’ ward had made the government take the decision. “… Even according to government policy, they are transferred every three years. But in this case, their safety was the main concern,” said an official.
Jail authorities said they were yet to receive the order. Additional Inspector General of Tihar Mukesh Prasad said, “I have heard about it, but I haven’t received any orders from the government. We will relieve them as soon as we get the orders.”
Prasad added that the women nurses have opposed the transfers. They have reportedly written to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on the issue.
“A few nurses came to me and said they did not want to go and they are safe here. There was one incident of molestation and it is very unfortunate, but barring this, it has never happened before,” he said.
When asked if there was any response to a report sought by the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) on alleged cases of harassment of female doctors, Prasad said the authorities have replied to it.
At least 20 doctors — both male and female — approached DCW, stating that cases of harassment of female doctors had become very common in Tihar. Citing an order passed by the DG (Prisons), which makes it necessary for jail staff to accompany female doctors visiting male wards, it asked why it was not followed in this case.
DCW chairperson Swati Maliwal said, “The doctor had earlier complained to authorities a few times… Woman doctors enter male wards with no protection at all. I was told that a woman psychiatrist had interviewed an accused in the December 16, 2012 (gangrape) case all by herself in his cell. So, there are certainly a lot of concerns about their safety.”