The woman told police that she came in contact with Arun Kumar K of KR Puram in 2020. They worked together with several social service outfits and became friends. He gained her confidence and she started sharing with him her personal matters, including about her HIV infection. Later, he allegedly started demanding money from her and threatened that he would inform others about her health condition.
He took her gold and pledged it for Rs 2.8 lakh and allegedly used it for his personal expenditure.
The woman claimed that the man informed her close relatives about her infection, resulting in her having to face mental harassment.
The suspect allegedly came to her residence on April 8 and slapped her with slippers after she asked him why he was spreading information about her health. She also alleged that he threatened to ensure that she and her family would be rendered homeless and that he would rape her daughter in public view. She discussed with her husband the harassment she was facing and recently filed a police complaint.
HSR Layout police have registered a case against Kumar under section 37 (punishment for exposing protected persons to hatred or discrimination) of HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017 and IPC sections 355 (assault or criminal force with intent to dishonour a person), 384 (punishment for extortion), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), and 506 (criminal intimidation). “We will summon him to record his statement and take legal action after probe,” said a police officer.
‘Community can help’
Saroja Putran, community legal advisor, Karnataka Network of Positive People (KNP+), said the guilty must be punished in the case and the woman in trouble can connect with the community members.
“All such cases are dealt with by the ombudsman at Karnataka State AIDS Prevention Society (KSAPS). The affected individual has the right to disclose or not disclose her identity. While we would want to reveal the HIV status to a doctor for treatment purposes, we don’t suggest the same thing while buying a bus ticket. The right to confidentiality and right to disclose lies with us,” Saroja said, adding that there may be some personal issues involved in the case. “If she is in trouble, we should know what the matter is and whatever the case, help is available.”
“This is nothing but a violation of HIV and AIDS (Prevention & Control) Act, 2017. Unfortunately, there is still stigma and discrimination. In such cases, the affected individuals can connect with the ombudsman at KSAPS and free legal aid will be provided, along with counselling,” said Srinivasa C, assistant director, Greater Involvement of People Living with HIV and AIDS, KSAPS. He said in all government-run ART (antiretroviral therapy) centres, advocates from the state legal services authority are working and they can also be contacted.