BENGALURU: A senior medical officer at the state-run KC General Hospital in Bengaluru allegedly tried to molest an MBBS student who was interning at the hospital. Though authorities were informed, the medical officer was let off after he tendered a written apology.
According to sources at the Malleswaram hospital, the incident occurred on September 23 when the medical officer, who was in-charge of the casualty department, called the intern to his room at 2am under the pretext of giving her an assignment. He locked the door and allegedly touched her inappropriately telling her he needed to check her heartbeat.Showing presence of mind, the student quickly unlocked the door while pleading with the doctor to leave her alone. She ran out and raised an alarm, sources said.
The girl, who is studying in a government college, immediately informed hospital authorities. The medical superintendent sought an explanation from the senior doctor, who even tried to contact the girl through other interns.
Dr Ravi Kumar, medical superintendent of the hospital, told Express, “As soon as we came to know of the incident, a notice was issued to the doctor. As demanded by the victim, he tendered a written apology.”
On allegations that the girl was warned against approaching police by senior hospital officials who said it would affect her internship, Dr Kumar claimed that the girl did not want to report it to the police and there was no pressure on her to hush it up.
Incidentally, the hospital had not even constituted the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) to look into complaints of sexual harassment in workplaces, mandated by law.“Names have been recommended to form the ICC and it is yet to be finalised,” Dr Kumar added.
The National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW), which has taken up the case, blamed the hospital authorities for lapses. Jyothi A, state president of NFIW, said, “A case of sexual harassment at the workplace cannot be treated in such a light manner. It is the duty of the employer to provide a safe working environment for women at workplace, whether it is a hospital or any educational institution. The chief of the hospital is accountable as the Internal Complaints Committee has not been constituted as per the provisions of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013.”
She urged the state government to intervene and take action against the errant officers, including those who allegedly intimidated her.