Teen girl ‘raped by ambulance driver as she was driven to hospital with Covid’

A teenage girl who tested positive for coronavirus was raped by an ambulance driver as he drove her to a specialist hospital in India.

Police in the Indian region of Kerala said the attacker assaulted the girl in Aranmula in the Pathanamthitta district.

Pandalam police said the shocking act reportedly took place after 10pm on Saturday night.

The driver, identified as 29-year-old V Noufal, is believed to be a habitual offender with several criminal cases against him.

He is accused of violating the girl after being tasked with driving her from Kozhencherry district hospital to Pandalam Covid-19 First-Line Treatment Centre.

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Sources in India said a 19-year-old girl and a woman, 42, visited Adoor government general hospital after testing positive for Covid-19.

As there were no vacant beds, the ambulance driver was assigned to take the girl to an emergency treatment centre and the woman to the district hospital.

But instead, the ambulance driver dropped the woman off first at the hospital and parked the ambulance in an isolated spot.

The Bangalore Mirror reports Noufal removed his PPE, opened the back door of the ambulance and raped the girl, threatening her if she revealed the incident to anyone.

He then dropped the girl at Pandalam and went to Adoor general hospital.

The girl told authorities who, in turn, informed the police.

Noufal was arrested on Sunday morning.

Health Minister KK Shailaja described the incident as "inhuman" adding "it should not have happened".

An investigation has been ordered into the horrific crime.

India has experienced a heightened spotlight on sexual crimes in recent years after a surge in high-profile cases.

In December 2019, India Today reported that rape cases in India had doubled in the past 17 years.

One particularly horrifying cases saw a 23-year-old rape victim set on fire on her way to court to attend a hearing in Delhi.

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