A mob on Tuesday assaulted a doctor at a Covid-19 care centre in Assam after a patient died during treatment, the police said. They added that 24 suspects have been arrested so far.

The doctor, identified as Dr Seuj Kumar Senapati, was posted at the centre in Udali locality in Hojai district. A video doing the rounds on social media showed the doctor being beaten up with a metal object. The doctor was hospitalised and is now in a stable condition.

The patient, Giyaz Uddin, who was a resident of Pipal Pukhuri village, died on Tuesday due to Covid-related complications, reported NDTV.

“The attendant of the patient came to me saying the patient is serious and has not passed urine since morning,” Dr Senapati said. “I went to the room and found that the patient was dead. As I broke the news to the attendant, another relative started abusing me.”

Following the verbal abuses, a mob, reportedly comprising the patient’s relatives, began to vandalise the hospital. Senapati then managed to lock himself in a room but the crowd broke in and continued to assault him.

Special Director General of Police GP Singh said that “a strong chargesheet” would be filed swiftly and that action would be taken against the accused. Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said he was “personally monitoring this investigation” and promised to bring about justice.

The Indian Medical Association’s Assam unit on Tuesday condemned the incident and called for all doctors in the state to “abstain from Out Patient Services including diagnostic services” on Wednesday. The group also demanded that the culprits be immediately identified and arrested. The doctors’ body also called for a swift trial.

“Immediate arrangement of armed security in all Health Care Facilities including all Covid Care Centres,” it said. “IMA advises Government to consider erecting a Healthcare Establishments Security Force to prevent and control such incidents.”

Satyajit Borah, president of the health body, said that the accused should be booked under the Epidemic Act and the Assam Medicare Service Act. He demanded a fast-track trial and a verdict within three months, ANI reported.

If the demands are not fulfilled, the doctors’ association said it will “give a call for boycott of all non emergency medical services including non-critical Covid duties on 3rd June 2021”.

The National President of IMA, JA Jayalal, also condemned the incident and said that the government should do something to “save the morale and health of doctors”.

The Resident Doctors Association of the All India Institute Of Medical Science also called for strict action against the accused.