Three people in Madhya Pradesh’s Sheopur district attacked a doctor and a policeman on Wednesday when they went to Gaswani village to screen a patient for the coronavirus infection, NDTV reported.
The attack came on the day the Centre brought in an ordinance to make attacks on healthcare professionals, deployed on the frontlines to combat the coronavirus pandemic, a non-bailable offence. The new law, which President Ram Nath Kovind approved to promulgate on Thursday, will carry an imprisonment from six months to seven years and a compensation for the victims.
The doctor went to Gaswani to screen the son of a farmer, the police said. Gopal, who had recently returned from Guna district, was ill. “Since he came from another district, the doctor Pawan Upadhyay, posted at the Vijaypur government hospital, went to the village to get him screened,” District Superintendent of Police Sampat Upadhyaya said. But the farmer’s family did not permit the doctor to check Gopal or any other member of his family. So the doctor then sought the help of the police and went back with Assistant Sub-Inspector Sriram Awasthi.
This time, the farmer’s family pelted stones at the doctor and the police officer. While the doctor was not hurt, Awasthi sustained a head injury.
“Subsequently, while Gangaram and his second son Ashish were arrested, Gopal managed to escape,” Upadhyaya said, according to The New Indian Express. “A case has been registered u/s 353, 188, 269 and 270 of IPC against Gangaram and his two sons. The National Security Act will also be invoked against the three accused.”
The number of coronavirus patients in India rose to 21,373 on Thursday morning, but the Indian Council of Medical Research said at least 21,797 people have tested positive so far. The toll increased to 681, while the number of patients who have recovered stood at 4,257.
Attacks against healthcare workers and those in the frontline has increased in the past few weeks. The Faridabad Police arrested five people for allegedly beating up an ASHA worker during the door-to-door survey on behalf of the district administration on Tuesday.
Last week, health workers in Bihar were attacked by villagers in four different districts of the state during the door-to-door screening for the coronavirus. The attacks took place in Siwan, Begusarai, Nalanda and Nawada districts. Health officials were told to leave when they went to the affected areas.
A day before that, similar incidents were reported from East Champaran district. At least nine officials were injured in an attack by a group of villagers.