Ostracised Indian AIDS victim dies
By Akhand in Bhubaneswar (India):
Nava Pradhan (named changed), the 42-year-old HIV-infected grade-four staff of a nationalised bank at Kendrapara in Indian coastal state Orissa, died at his home on Tuesday. He was pushed into a state of deep agony and distress from where there was no return.
Nava, who was ostracised in his village, was also subjected to discriminating treatment by the bank authorities.
He was first asked to go on a long leave and was never allowed to report on duty. Under such circumstances, he was forced to stay back home without a job.
Nava had moved the National Human Rights Commission and Orissa Human Rights Commission against the injustice meted out to him by the bank.
"It is a matter of deep shock and anguish that the authorities in a nationalised bank showed such attitude towards an HIV positive person. The behaviour of the bank employees was insensitive, inhumane and illegal," said social activist Abanti Behera, adding that before the two human rights bodies came to Nava’s rescue, he died as a frustrated and heartbroken soul.
Stating that the Supreme Court of India has a ruling that no HIV-infected employee, either in government or private sector, can be stopped from performing duty or segregated from the workplace, Ms Behera said that the bank’s refusal to allow Nava to work was violation of human rights and amounted to contempt of the court. "The concerned bank officials — in contemptuous disregard to the court’s verdict — have discriminated against an HIV/AIDS carrier. It is a commission of penal offence by the authorities concerned as they stopped and segregated the diseased man from bank duty," she added.
Ms Behera, who fought for the cause of the deceased, say she would fight until the rights bodies chastised the bank for its wrong behaviour.