Meghalaya’s Social Welfare Department has taken “serious note” of a doctor’s refusal to medically examine a minor rape victim on the grounds that the place of the incident was beyond his jurisdiction.
The State’s Assembly Committee on Women Empowerment (ACWE) has also decided to hold a meeting on the issue and asked all officials concerned to depose before it.
Social Welfare Minister Kyrmen Shylla condemned the gang-rape of the 14-year-old as well as the insensitivity of the doctor at the Williamnagar Civil Hospital in East Garo Hills district for citing a jurisdictional reason to decline treatment to her.
Four men were arrested for sexually assaulting the girl who had gone out on Sunday evening to buy candles in the Nangalbibra area of South Garo Hills district.
“Jurisdiction should not be an issue in such cases. I won’t mind if rules are broken to save a life and for the sake of humanity. We will take up the doctor’s issue with the Health Department,” Mr. Shylla said.
Congress MLA and ACWE chairperson Ampareen Lyngdoh said the panel would look into why the hapless girl was refused medical attention in Williamnagar, forcing her to travel 75 km away to a hospital in South Garo Hills district’s Baghmara.
“We have sought the inquiry reports and all officials concerned have been called to depose online. It is disheartening to know such crimes are occurring regularly in the State even in the midst of the pandemic,” she said.
Pressure groups such as the Garo Students’ Union and Federation of Khasi Jaintia and Garo People have sought action against the doctor for turning the rape victim away.
In a complaint to East Garo Hills district’s Deputy Commissioner Swapnil Tembe, the organisations said doctors should resolve issues of jurisdiction and boundary after attending to the health of a person or victim of sexual assault.
Mr. Tembe said the district’s Medical Superintendent has been asked to submit a report on the incident. He admitted that the incident put the Williamnagar Civil Hospital in a bad light.