Girls take self-defence lessons in Bhuli, Dhanbad, on Thursday. The incident at CIP shows why such training is a must in Jharkhand. Picture by Gautam Dey
Three employees, on separate occasions, allegedly tried to rape a young woman inmate at Central Institute of Psychiatry (CIP) in Kanke, Ranchi, a shocking revelation that shows the helplessness of female patients in India.
The alleged rape attempts came to light on Wednesday evening when a ward sister was reading a letter written by a woman inmate as a part of the hospital’s correspondence vetting protocol.
Responding well to treatment for the past one year, the 26-year-old woman from Uttar Pradesh lucidly described in her letter the three rape bids she faced recently from hospital staffers. The unmarried and educated woman was also more mentally stable than many of the 380 inmates — around 100 of them being women — who are staying on CIP campus.
According to her letter, on May 24, a cook named Nageshwar Mahto attempted to violate her in the kitchen when she went to get some extra bread around 4.30pm. A day before, a library staffer, one Yunus, tried to force himself upon her. The woman also mentioned another staffer, one Kalicharan Indwar, who tried to seduce her with money and samosas.
Though CIP officials are tight-lipped, with its director Dr D. Ram even trying to downplay the severity of the event by calling it “eve-teasing”, someone from the hospital — his or her identity is not clear — blew the whistle and informed Kanke police station on Wednesday night.
On Thursday, Kanke police arrested Nageshwar and Yunus based on the letter’s contents. “Kalicharan could not be arrested today as he is on leave, but we will find him,” said Kanke officer-in-charge (OC) Anand Kumar Singh. When asked about an FIR, the OC told The Telegraph it would be registered based on the victim’s statement.
However, asked for his opinion of the case, OC Kumar toed the CIP director’s line. “It seems to be eve-teasing,” he said.
But CIP sources, speaking on the condition of strict anonymity, said they were rape attempts. “The woman has an injury mark on her breast. Those named have been involved in such acts in the past as well. Earlier cases were hushed up as the institute administration handled the matter diplomatically,” an insider alleged.
State women commission chairperson Mahua Maji said she had taken strong exception to the incident. “I have taken suo motu cognisance in the matter and sent a letter to the director-general of police for a probe. I will visit CIP tomorrow (Friday),” she said.
Cases of sexual abuse of mentally ill women lodged in institutions are not rare. In 2012, the caretaker of a state-run rehabilitation centre in Bengal’s Hooghly district was found to have allowed outsiders to sexually exploit and torture mentally ill women inmates. The matter came to light when the body of a 32-year-old inmate was found buried in the backyard of the asylum.