The woman told police that she came in contact with Arun Kumar K of KR Puram in 2020. They worked with several social services and became friends. He gained her trust and she started talking to him about her personal affairs, including her HIV infection. Later, he reportedly started asking her for money and threatened to tell others about her condition.
He took his gold and pawned it for Rs 2.8 lakh and allegedly used it for his personal expenses.
The woman claimed that the man had informed his relatives of his infection, which had forced her to face moral harassment.
The suspect allegedly came to her home on April 8 and slapped her with slippers after she asked why he was spreading information about her health. She also alleged that he threatened to make her and her family homeless and to rape her daughter in public. She spoke with her husband about the harassment she was facing and recently filed a complaint with the police.
HSR Layout Police have registered a case against Kumar under Section 37 (punishment for exposing protected persons to hatred or discrimination) of the HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Act 2017 and IPC Sections 355 (assault or criminal force with intent to dishonor a person), 384 (punishment for extortion), 504 (intentional insult with intent to cause public disorder), and 506 (criminal intimidation). “We will summon him to record his statement and take legal action after investigation,” said a police officer.
“The community can help”
Saroja Putran, Community Legal Adviser, Karnataka Network of Positive People (KNP+), said the culprit should be punished in this case and the troubled woman can get in touch with community members.
“All such cases are handled by the Karnataka State AIDS Prevention Society (KSAPS) Ombudsman. The person concerned has the right to disclose his or her identity or not. Although we would like to disclose the HIV status to a doctor for treatment purposes, we don’t suggest the same when buying a bus ticket. The right to privacy and the right to disclosure are ours,” Saroja said, adding that there may be personal issues involved in the process. “If she is in trouble, we should know what it is and no matter what, help is available.”
“This is nothing but a breach of the HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Act 2017. Unfortunately, stigma and discrimination persist. In such cases, those affected can get in touch with the KSAPS ombudsman and free legal aid will be provided, as well as counselling,” said Srinivasa C, Deputy Director, Enhanced Involvement of People Living with HIV and AIDS , KSAPS. He said that in all government-run ART (antiretroviral therapy) centers, attorneys from the state legal services authority are working and they can also be contacted.