In view of rising cases of violence against doctors and healthcare professionals dealing with coronavirus pandemic, especially by members of the Tablighi Jamaat, the Resident Doctors Association (RDA) of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has written a letter to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, requesting him to implement the ‘Health Services Personnel and Clinical Establishments (Prohibition of Violence and Damage to Property), Bill’.
In its letter to the Home Minister, the RDA has highlighted seven cases of assault on doctors while on coronavirus duty, including the most recent one in Uttar Pradesh’s Moradabad and Lok Nayak Hospital in Delhi. The letter also lists incidents of targetted harassment against female nurses by members of the Tablighi Jamaat.
#AIIMS #COVID19— India Legal (@indialegalmedia) April 17, 2020
#ResidentDoctorsAssociation (RDA) of AIIMS writes to the Union Home Minister appealing for the implementation of ‘The Health Services Personnel and Clinical Establishments (Prohibition of Violence and Damage to Property) Bill.’…(1/2) pic.twitter.com/aFl3sEvl2F
“We, as healthcare professionals, are not as scared of infections as we are of being assaulted and abused by the very community we treat,” the RDA stated, adding that such incidents had become an unforeseen ‘occupational hazard’.
The ‘Health Services Personnel and Clinical Establishments (Prohibition of Violence and Damage to Property) Bill’ was drafted by the Union Health Ministry last year after medical fraternity across the country went on a strike last June after repeated targetted attacks on them.
However, the Bill, which had stringent provisions of a jail term of up to ten years for those assaulting on-duty doctors, was discarded by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in December, stating that there was no need for a separate law in this regard.
Incidents of violence against doctors cited by RDA in letter to Amit Shah
- The incident took place at Haji Neb Masjid area in Moradabad when a team of doctors and medical staff went to take away two persons suspected of having novel coronavirus in the area. The mob pelted stones at the ambulance and doctors.
The stones were also pelted on the police van which came to rescue the health workers later. Several people have been injured in the ensuing mayhem, including Dr Sudhish Agrawal. According to health officials, a thousand people came out on the streets to attack the medical team.
- A female doctor was assaulted by patients at Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital in New Delhi. OpIndia was informed that the members who attacked the female doctor were Tablighi Jamaat members who are currently undergoing treatment at the Delhi government hospital.
The shocking incident occurred on Tuesday when patients attacked a female doctor inside a surgical ward. As a male doctor tried to rescue female doctor from the unruly mob, he was also manhandled by the unruly mob. The doctors had to hide inside a room to save his life from the attacks of the Tablighi Jamaat mob.
- A Post Graduate doctor at Osmania General Hospital was attacked by a relative of a suspected coronavirus patient in the hospital’s isolation ward on April 14. The incident took place when the suspected patient and their relatives came to know that two-more persons who were in the same isolation ward had tested positive for coronavirus.
The patient’s relative had demanded that the patient be discharged, which was denied by the attending PG doctors. Angered over the development, the father of the suspected patient had attacked the PG doctor.
- Two women resident doctors of Safdarjung Hospital were assaulted on Wednesday by a 42-year-old man who accused them of “spreading” coronavirus near Gautam Buddh Nagar area in the national capital. The incident happened around 9.30 pm on April 8 when the two doctors had stepped out of their houses to buy fruits in the area.
- The Resident Doctor’s Association of AIIMS Bhopal had alleged that junior doctors at the hospital were assaulted at the hands of policemen. On April 8, two doctors were going home after completing their shifts. The police stopped them and hurled abusive words at them and even thrashed them with a bamboo stick, alleged the junior doctors.
- On April 11, a junior doctor at Government Hospital in Bharatpur, Rajasthan, who was returning to the hostel after finishing his shift, was stopped and attacked by police personnel with a stick. The police personnel had allegedly slapped the doctor.
- A doctor was physically attacked and verbally abused by her next-door neighbour in Surat on April 5. The neighbour had threatened to kick her out of her house as he believed that the doctor had novel coronavirus and she would spread it to the entire building. The doctor, Dr Sanjivani, works at Surat Civil Hospital, where novel coronavirus patients are also treated.
Continued attacks on healthcare workers by Tablighi Jamaat members
At a time when frontline workers are risking their lives to limit the spread of the Chinese epidemic, there have been concerted attacks against them by many Tablighi Jamaat members who refuse to cooperate in the treatment. There have been reports of Jamaat members molesting nurses in UP, defecating in corridors in Delhi and even spitting at the healthcare workers.
We had reported regarding the series of attacks unleashed against frontline health workers by Muslim mobs during the coronavirus epidemic.
From attacking medical teams, policemen who were searching for Tablighi members who had attended the religious congregation to check them for possible infection, to spiting on doctors at Isolation centres, to roaming naked in their ward and making lewd gestures for female staff, the Muslim mobs have been displaying extreme crassness.