Alleged rape of nurse in Kerala hospital roils social media

News that a nurse had been raped and there are efforts to suppress the case has sparked outrage

Alleged rape of nurse in Kerala hospital roils social media

Anger is building up against mainstream media for their perceived black out of an alleged rape of a nurse working in a super speciality hospital in Kochi, the commercial hub of Kerala. Through several posts on social media, users have vented their anger against what they claim as an attempt by the authorities to "cover up" the case. There were also posts alleging that the nurse could have been raped by a person/ persons working at the hospital.

Several posts have appeared in Facebook and Twitter demanding action against Amritha Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre(AIMS) in which the nurse was working. AIMS is a medical college hospital run by the charitable trust of Amritanandamayi Math, named after spiritual leader Mata Amritanandamayi.

K K Rema, a leader of the Revolutionary Marxist Party has written to the DGP of police to initiate inquiry into the alleged incident. Several women activists have also send emails to the DGP seeking a probe into the matter.

The police is yet to register a case, but an investigation is on, DGP Loknath Behra was quoted as saying by Asianet News on Saturday evening.

Two days ago, a few news outlets carried an item saying that a nurse was raped and abandoned near a railway track. The reports said the victim is seriously injured and is admitted in to ICU of the super speciality hospital. But the media did not mention which hospital the nurse was working.

AIMS has denied the allegations. The allegations are baseless and conceited to malign the institution, MS Bala, the Nursing Director, AIMS said in an undated press note, issued on Saturday.

Press release Amrita hospital

AIMS management has filed a compliant against a Facebook page named 'Porali Shaji' (which means Shaji the warrior) for spreading rumours against the hospital.

" We have recieved a complaint from A. R. Prathapan, Security Officer of AIMS, against the Facebook page named 'Porali Shaji'. We have not registered any case yet," said N. P. Dinesh , Police Commissioner, Kochi.

The complainant has demanded legal action against the user under Cyber Act 66-A and IPC 501. Legal experts say that the complaint is not legally sustainable as the section 66 A of Act had been declared as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court and IPC section 501 is to be filed in the court directly.

A hashtag -#bedno5 - which claims that the patient was in bed number five in the intensive care unit of the hospital, have been used widely.

AIMS has several satellite centres including Andamans, Mumbai and Mysore. It also has a network of educational institutions affiliated to their own deemed university. Mata Amrithanandamayi has her 'ashrams' in almost all major cities of India and in Europe and the US.

This is not the first time that the Amritanandamayi Math is finding itself at the centre of a controversy.

In 2012, Satnam Singh, a law student who had rushed towards Mata Amritandamayi while she was giving darshan at the Math in Kollam was stopped by devotees, because they thought he was trying to attack her.

He was transferred from the jail to the Government Mental Health centre in state capital Thiruvananthapuram after it was ascertained that he was mentally ill. A few days later his kin was informed that he was dead. The family claimed that there were signs of torture on the corpse. An online campaign "Justice for Satnam" demanded action against the guilty, however powerful they were.

In 2013, Gail Tredwell, a former disciple of Amritanandamayi, published a memoir of her 1980-99 tenure at the ashram as a book Titled "“Holy Hell - a Memoir of Faith, Devotion and Pure Madness”.

The Australian national had alleged sexual exploitation and promiscuity among senior ashram inmates in her book.