The Delhi Police on Tuesday filed a first information report against more than 100 Accredited Social Health Activist or ASHA workers for staging a protest at Jantar Mantar last week, Hindustan Times reported. The police said the protesters violated coronavirus safety protocols and had no permission to stage the demonstration.
ASHA workers across the country, who have been going house-to-house collecting coronavirus-related data and following up with patients, had launched a two-day protest on August 7, demanding better pay and protective equipment. In Delhi, a huge number of ASHA workers have been on a strike since July 21.
During the protest, the ASHA workers demanded that their salary be increased to Rs 10,000 per month from Rs 4,000. The protest was launched by the All India United Traders Union Centre.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi) Eish Singhal told Hindustan Times that the FIR against the ASHA workers was filed against Section 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code, Section 3 of the Epidemic Disease Act and Section 51B of the Disaster Management Act.
Singhal added that the protesters failed to produce the required permits when the police reached the spot on Sunday afternoon. “They left Jantar Mantar after around half an hour, assuring they would submit the [permission] letter on Monday,” he said. “However, nobody turned up on Monday, after which the FIR was registered.”
The police commissioner told The Indian Express that the ASHA workers were not wearing masks during the protest and did not maintain physical distancing rules.
The All India United Traders Union Centre’s Delhi coordinator for ASHA workers, meanwhile, said that they had not been informed about the FIR. “We are trying to find out details, she told Hindustan Times. “If the police have registered a FIR, it is extremely unfortunate and we condemn it.”