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A junior government health inspector allegedly raped a 44-year-old woman after he called her to his residence on the pretext of handing over her a ‘coronavirus negative’ certificate on Thursday. The incident which happened in Thiruvananthapuram district of the southern Indian state of Kerala has caused an uproar on social media.

A Facebook user Nirmal Menon posted: “It’s a shame. It’s not only happening in Kerala, but every other state.”

The accused was later identified as Pradeep, and according to the media sources, Thiruvananthapuram Rural Police has arrested the rape-accused junior government health inspector based on the complaint lodged by the woman.

She was in quarantine at a relative’s place where the inspector would visit her for COVID-19 inspections, reportedly.

Another Facebook user Vasanthi Ravindran commented: “Political parties are supporting criminals. Local people need to respond without politics. Capital punishment is required.”

According to the police complaint, the survivor was in quarantine at a relative’s house near Kulathupuzha village in the eastern part of Kollam district and the officer used to call her every day as part of the COVID-19 checkup.

After she completed her quarantine period, Pradeep allegedly insisted that she should collect the COVID-19 negative certificate from his residence. As she reached the residence of the health inspector, the woman was forcefully confined, her hands tied and she was abused. She has said fearing for her life; she even had to express willingness to participate in the act.

Police officials have said that there is evidence of sexual activity. However, the police are awaiting forensic details for further evidence to validate the allegations.

This is the second incident of rape involving a state employee working in the health sector. The case was later transferred to Pangode police station, which comes under Thiruvananthapuram jurisdiction, and a First Information Report was registered under relevant sections.

The accused was to be produced before the court on Monday. Confirming the incident, Minister of Health and Social Welfare of Kerala KK Shylaja has ordered the suspension of the accused from service. On Saturday, another 22-year-old woman complained that the driver of a Kerala state-run ambulance service tasked to take her to hospital raped her on the way. Kerala health minister KK Shailaja said the state government would take stringent action against the offenders.

“Health workers are working 24/7 these days. But such unfortunate incidents will give a negative impression and portray their work in a bad light. We will take stringent action against the offenders and ensure such sad incidents do not recur,” said Shailaja.