A cleaner was arrested from Tata Main Hospital (TMH) on Sunday for allegedly molesting a 25-year-old patient two days ago.
Police action followed the wrath of the Adivasi Mahasabha — an umbrella organisation of Ho community members — which demanded mob justice for the accused.
Ashok Behra (30) — employed with private company Rare Hospitality, which provides housekeeping and dietary services to the hospital — was on night duty in the post-operative ward, when he attacked the tribal woman.
The victim, a resident of Beradhipa in Bagbera, had been admitted to TMH on December 12 with stones in her gall bladder. She underwent a surgery the day after.
On the night of December 14, as she was recuperating in the post-operative ward, Behra sneaked up to her and groped her while she was too weak to protest.
Family sources said the day after her ordeal, the victim confided in her elder sister who, subsequently, lodged a complaint with the hospital’s ward in-charge. The latter suspended Behra from duty with immediate effect.
But, around 8am on Sunday, a group of 30 youths from the tribal outfit stormed TMH to hunt down Behra. Unable to trace him on the premises, they met the hospital authorities and demanded that he be summoned.
Anticipating trouble, the TMH authorities informed Bistupur police who took Behra into custody as soon as he reached the hospital from his Baridih home.
The agitating tribals, who wanted that the accused be handed over to them, were pacified by East Singhbhum SSP Akhilesh Kumar Jha’s promise of speedy justice.
Bistupur thana OC inspector A.K. Yadav confirmed that the cleaner had been arrested for molestation. “We have arrested Ashok Behra on the basis of an FIR lodged by the victim’s sister. The accused is being sent to jail on the charge of molestation,” he said.
Sources said Behra had molested another patient on an earlier occasion too, but the matter had not been reported.
T.P. Madhusudanan, general manager of TMH, said the hospital administration was considering beefing up security of patients. “We are conducting an internal inquiry into the incident. We will review security at various wards too. Nothing more can be said at this moment,” he added.