A polio vaccination team was reportedly kept hostage and beaten up in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, after the locals mistook that the team was collecting data for National Population Register (NPR). The incident took place on Saturday, 25th January when a team of three vaccinators reached Lisari Gate locality in Meerut. Two of the nurses managed to escape and inform police about the situation.
According to Times of India, police has registered a complaint and an FIR was being filed against the culprits for stopping public servant from carrying out their duty. Apparently, this is not the first time such an incident has happened in the area.
Kabir Ahmad Khan, one of the officer for the immunisation programme, as per the rule, the vaccinators need to enter name of willing parents in a yellow-coloured tally register. When they asked the names, the people started protesting and soon they were surrounded by a mob. The immunising officers reportedly tried to calm the mob and showed them their ID proofs and vaccine box but instead of calming down, they attacked one of the team members.
The mob then tore away the register and the local women took one of the female staff of the immunisation team as a hostage. Eventually, WHO (World Health Organisation) field monitor and senior staff of immunisation programme reached the place and tried to explain the situation.
According to the TOI report, Khan said that this is not the first time people have shown resistance to give details during the vaccination drive. However, this was the first time the mob went violent against them.
This is not the first time vaccinators are mistook for NPR data collecting agents and attacked by an unruly mob. Last week in Kerala, one ASHA worker who was administering polio drops was thrashed by a Muslim family after they thought she was collecting data for NRC. A woman, Nazreen Bano, was attacked in Kota, Rajasthan, over rumours that she was collecting NRC data. She was let off only after she proved she was Muslim.