UP, MP invoke NSA for attacks, harassment of health workers


NEW DELHI: The Centre on Friday expressed concern over misbehaviour with and attacks on
medical staff engaged in tracking and treating patients suffering from Covid-19. It asking states to take stern action against the offenders. At least two states, Madhya Pradesh and UP, booked offenders under the
National Security Act.

The Centre’s directions came after incidents were reported from across the country of doctors and healthcare workers being attacked and quarantined
Tablighi Jamaat members misbehaving with nursing staff and impeding screening processes in Ghaziabad. Health minister Harsh Vardhan urged patients and their families not to create hurdles. “They are our corona warriors who are continuously serving the nation to control and contain the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.

The home ministry asked states to deal with such cases sternly. “States have been asked to take strict action against such people and ensure safety of healthcare workers,” Punya Salila Srivastava, joint secretary in MHA, said.

In MP, four offenders identified in the stoning of doctors in Indore were charged under NSA after chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan warned that the administration would not be found wanting. Late on Friday, six more suspects were arrested, taking the number of those held to 13. Similarly, the UP government used NSA against five Tablighi Jamaat members after a hospital superintendent in Ghaziabad complained to the police that they misbehaved with female nursing staff and made obscene gestures.

The health ministry is particularly concerned about the safety of healthcare workers following reports from states including UP, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Bihar and West Bengal where instances of misconduct and violence against healthcare workers have emerged.

In Indore, Munger (Bihar) and Bengaluru, people attacked healthcare workers when the latter visited localities to collect samples from people suspected to have contracted
coronavirus. In West Bengal, there were clashes between police and locals at a few places when the latter prevented
health workers from collecting samples for Covid-19.

A Solapur man was attacked by locals after he informed the ‘gram sevak’ about seven locals attending the Tablighi meet and also insisted that they be tested for coronavirus.

In Tirupally in Adilabad district of Telangana, a man was arrested and booked on charges of assaulting Aasha workers when they went to seek details of his brother who was in home quarantine after he returned from the Tablighi meet in Delhi.

Doctors from various hospitals in Delhi raised concerns about Tablighi members impeding their work and threatening to infect them. “We are scared of performing our duties. The government must take concrete steps to ensure our safety,” a senior resident doctor from Delhi’s LNJP Hospital said.

In Ghaziabad, Tablighi Jamaat members at a quarantine facility misbehaved with female nursing staff. The chief medical officer said the accused made lewd comments against nurses, refused to take their medicines and walked around the ward half-dressed.

“Yeh na kanoon ko manenge, na vyavastha ko manenge, yeh manavta ke dushman hain. Jo inhone mahila swasthya karmiyon ke saath kiya hai, who jaghanya apradh hai. In par NSA lagaya ja raha hai. Hum inhen chodenge nahin (They neither follow the law nor do they follow rules. They are the enemies of humanity. What they did with the women staff is a heinous crime. We are charging them under NSA. We will not spare them),” chief minister
Yogi Adityanath said on Friday.

Charges under NSA would also be slapped against anyone using violence against police personnel or health staff anywhere in the state, the CM said.

In Indore, four of the seven suspects arrested on Thursday for attacking doctors during screening have been booked under NSA.

CM Chouhan said in a video statement, “They are not human beings. They are enemies of humanity. Attacking doctors and paramedical staff, who are putting their own life in danger to save others, will not be tolerated at any cost. Strict action will be taken under NSA.”

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