Pelted with stones, spat at, abused: what health workers screening for COVID19 faced in Indore’s Muslim areas

The flouting of lockdown norms and disregard of basic precautions to prevent spread of Wuhan virus pandemic by large sections of Muslim society is well known by now. But videos showing health care workers, municipal staff and police being attacked and abused in Muslim majority localities of Indore will leave even hardened cynics stunned.

Warning: Abusive language

The above video is a combination of 5 clips from Ranipura and Tat Patti Bakhal localities.

Part1: Locals in Tat Patti Bakhal chase away and pelt stones at health workers (who can be seen in their protective gear), before bringing back a middle-aged lady who the workers’ were presumably taking away for testing/quarantine.

Part 2: A Health worker approaches a police team and asks, “How many constables do you have? They (Ranipura locals) are not cooperating. We went to one house and their son started spitting towards us. The family head is abusing and saying, ‘I am a sector officer, I will get you dismissed.'”

Part 3: A man starts abusing a police jawan who is accompanying doctors and health workers in a car, “I will dump you somewhere b******e. Do you understand? Don’t you dare come again here with this car to take any of us! None of you dare come. F**k your mothers. Where is your name plate?” The jawan raises his hand to pacify the abuser, while a doctor quickly clambers into the car. A lady doctor can be seen sitting in the front seat, frozen with fear.

Part 4: A shaken lady doctor first says she is not in a state to talk about her experience. When coaxed, she informs that she and her colleague, Dr. Zakia, had been going since 3 days for screening the contacts of positive cases. Things were going well and they had screened about 21 cases who all answered their questions, when suddenly the violence started….stones started landing at their feet and they were whisked away in a car by sir (tehsildar). She shudders and says they had a lucky escape.

Part 5: Municipal workers who were draining sewage water were beaten and chased away by locals. A mob came out of nowhere from the bylanes and started pelting stones. They were forced to leave their vehicle behind.

Indore has recorded 69 cases of the Wuhan coronavirus thus far, a whopping 66% of total cases in MP. 5 people have died of the pandemic in the city till date. With 17 cases in Ranipura and 2 in Tat Patti Bakhal, these two localities are part of the containment zone identified by Indore authorities where extensive contact tracing and screening is being carried out.

Health workers and other administrative officials are facing stiff resistance from locals in both localities. As per Nai Dunia, health officials reached Ranipura on Sunday to screen and quarantine family members of those who had been tested positive earlier. But they received abuses and women started spitting at them.

Two Corona positive patients ran away from the Government hospital – one on Saturday evening and the other on Sunday afternoon. They were later found roaming around in Ranipura and Khajrana areas by police. Health workers are now trying to trace all those they came in contact with. One of these youth is not showing any symptoms thus far, and has been cursing doctors even after being brought to the hospital for the second time.

Dainik Bhaskar reports that On Wednesday, Indore SDM Shashwat Sharma visited areas like Ranipura, Jhanda Chowk, Hathipala etc and appealed via loudspeaker for people to come forward if they had symptoms and to cooperate with authorities. He informed them about some of the positive cases and how the disease was transmitted – Shahzad of 12/1 Ranipura tested positive and he infected Amjad who died; Ilyas caught it from Amjad. Similarly Javed of 3/1 Hathipala tested positive and so his whole family had to be sent to a quarantine home where they are being cared for The SDM told people not to panic and to cooperate with health workers who visit their homes.

9 members of one family, including 3 children aged 3 to 8, have tested positive in Tanzim Nagar, Khajrana. After a 56-year-old woman tested positive, her family was isolated at a quarantine centre, from where the family released a video on Tuesday warning authorities to release them. In the video, one Abdul Gaffar says, “They are claiming we are positive (for COVID19), but we are all fine. My parents have no issues. We need to be released or there will be chaos.”

As per a Swarajya report, a health department team of 5 including 3 doctors engaged in COVID-19 screening in Indore’s Tat Patti Bakhal had a narrow escape when angry locals started pelting stones. The area has seen 2 positive cases, with 54 families placed under home isolation.

Indore’s Chief Medical and Health Officer (CMHO) Pravin Jadia said: “Our team is working to protect people from the coronavirus infection. But people pelted stones at them. It was an unfortunate incident. Two women doctors somehow protected themselves by hiding in tehsildar”s vehicle.”

Police said that a case of rioting will be pursued against people who attacked the health workers and broke the barricade. Officials said lack of awareness among the people about the corona virus infection and rumours spread on social media had led to such confrontation.

In other news, a Bihar police party that had gone to look for the Nizamuddin Tablighi Jamaat event attendees in a local mosque in Madhubani district were fired upon. Bihar police is trying to trace 86 Indians and 57 foreigners who had attended the Jamaat event. According to MHA data, around 2,100 foreigners arrived in the country in 2020 illegally for Tablighi Jamaat activities – they violated tourist visa norms by indulging in religious preaching and proselytisation, and later spread to different cities. 2500 Indians from different states also attended the Jamaat event in Delhi. Around 200 people linked to this event have tested positive for the Wuhan virus thus far, with hundreds more in the process of being screened, quarantined.

Police were pelted with stones and one cop injured in Ahmedabad, Gujarat when they went to disperse a crowd that had gathered near a masjid. In UP, a sub-inspector and a constable were brutally attacked and seriously injured when they tried to enforce the ongoing lockdown in a village in Muzaffarnagar district. In Saharanpur district, two policemen were injured when a mob attacked them to free 6 persons being arrested by police for illegally assembling near a mosque.


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