The Indian Medical Association on Monday requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to personally intervene to curb incidents of assault on doctors and health workers amid the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a letter to Modi, the association highlighted an attack on a doctor in Assam earlier this month and other incidents of assault on medical practitioners across the country. It said that the “brutal assaults” were causing mental trauma among professionals on the frontline of India’s fight against the health crisis.

The medical association urged Modi to promulgate the Health Services Personnel and Clinical Establishments (Prohibition of Violence and Damage to Property) Bill, 2019, which seeks to punish those who assault on-duty doctors and other healthcare professionals with jail term of up to 10 years.

The association also urged the government to support the families of doctors who have died due to Covid-19. “Many young doctors have also lost their lives on account of their dedicated service to thousands of people, which has affected not only the doctors but many of their close family members,” the association added. “There are cases where both husband and wife being doctors have lost their lives leaving behind children as orphans.”

It added:

“We thank you for the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana scheme under which insurance benefits are being extended to such families, however, we wish to bring to your kind notice that due to various obstacles in the procedural implementation of the Scheme, out of 754 doctors who had lost their lives in the first wave, families of only 168 Doctors have been able to apply under this Scheme.” 

— Indian Medical Association

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The Indian Medical Association also demanded action against those who spread misinformation about the vaccination drive and Covid-19 treatments. “Simultaneously, any attempt of any person to fool the gullible public and promote so-called magic remedies or wonder drugs without the approval of the Ministry of Health ought to be immediately curtailed,” it added.

The association has repeatedly criticised yoga guru Ramdev for his misleading remarks about modern medicine and vaccination, and demanded that he be charged with sedition.

The Indian Medical Association also urged the government to promote universal free vaccination for all adults, “without leaving the vaccines to the extent of 50% to the States and private hospitals”.

“IMA has decided to seek your intervention on the above issues and also organize various intellectual meets, dialogues, and finally the National Protest Day on June 18 to secure smooth, cooperative and optimum milieu for modern healthcare professionals, which will enable them to work with much more compassion and dedication and without the fear of mental or physical harm,” the association said, concluding its letter.

India tackled a massive surge in Covid-19 cases between April and May but the number of daily new cases have now begun to reduce. On Monday, India registered 1,00,636 new Covid-19 cases, pushing the tally of infections to 2,89,09,975 since the pandemic broke out in January last year. This is the lowest number of new cases recorded in two months. With 2,427 deaths, India’s toll climbed to 3,49,186.