An HIV(+) special educator employed with a special education center for counseling and training of specially-abled children at Barasat in North 24 Parganas district in West Bengal has been asked by the central authorities to go on indefinite leave just as he joined back duty five days after his marriage with his partner, who is also HIV(+).
Both met at Ananda Ghar (house of joy), a home for HIV(+) positive children run by Offer India in Kolkata. While the bride, who is working as the floor manager of a cafe in Kolkata, was brought up at Ananda Ghar, the groom got associated with the home at a later stage.
The founder and director of Offer India Kallol Ghosh told IANS that the Ananda Ghar authorities arranged their marriage recently with a lot of fanfare and enthusiasm, which was participated by 400 invitees from different walks of society.
"The pictures of their wedding went viral on social media. However, five days after the marriage when the groom joined back his duty at the special education center, the center head called him to his room and accused him of joining the center after suppressing that he is HIV(+). As per the existing legal provision, an HIV(+) person is not bound to declare that unless he joins the core medical sector," Ghosh explained.
Thereafter the center head asked the groom to go on indefinite leave. "He even told him that there is immense pressure from the guardians of the children associated with the center that the groom should no longer be associated with them. Thereafter, the center head asked him to go on indefinite leave and also said that the central authorities will consider whether he will join back duty in the future after HIV tests are conducted for the children associated with the center. What is most unfortunate is the center head himself is a doctor," Ghosh said.
"Oh my god! How could he do that/" was the first reaction from the city-based renowned physician Dr. Udipta Roy when IANS contacted him for his comments and detailed the development. "Infection happens through sexual intercourse or blood transmission or infected needles in case of the drug. Forget touching and shaking hands, infection does not even happen in the case of normal kissing. This is most unfortunate that the discrimination against that unfortunate groom has been done from an educated brain and who has a medical degree," Dr. Roy said.
Senior counsel of Calcutta High Court, Kaushik Gupta told IANS, as per the HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Act, no person can be discriminated against at his or her workplace for being HIV (+). "The center head has violated the provisions of the Act that bars discrimination. The victim groom has every right to sue the center on grounds of discrimination," Gupta said. (KB/IANS)