Is This the “Agra Model”? Shocking Videos Emerge of Water and Biscuits Being Thrown at Quarantined Locals


Is This the “Agra Model”? Shocking Videos Emerge of Water and Biscuits Being Thrown at Quarantined Locals

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

Earlier this month, the Centre lauded the actions taken to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus and break the chain of transmission by local authorities in Uttar Pradesh’s Agra. The “Agra Model of Containment” was highlighted during one of the government’s daily press briefings in the first half of April, with the city’s ample deployment of personnel teams, use of technology, and partnering with private healthcare institutions being held up as an example to the rest of the country. However, two weeks later, the praise for the “Agra Model” has aged poorly, as shocking videos emerged of a quarantine centre in the city where healthcare workers in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) are seen throwing essential supplies like water, biscuits, and milk toward locals housed behind a locked gate.

There are two videos doing the rounds, allegedly shot at the Hindustan College of the Sharda Group of Institutions, as claimed by the woman recording one of the videos. After the videos went viral, the Agra District Magistrate Prabhu Narain Singh confirmed the incident, as reported in The Indian Express. The same report also carried a statement by Uttar Pradesh’s Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Kumar Awasthi, wherein he said, “There was a gap of about four hours, and (in this time) they did all this. However, it was an isolated incident, and we have made sure that no such incident is repeated. Everything has been taken care of. Everything is fine now.”

However, the incident is an eye-opener, as Agra was considered an example to follow for other parts of the country. Signs that all is not well in the city were spotted just a few days after the Centre first hailed the “Agra Model”. On Apri 21, Agra Mayor Naveen Jain of the Bharatiya Janata Party, wrote a letter to UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath requesting his help to “save” the city from “becoming a Wuhan”. In a Times of India report, Jain is quoted as saying, “Nursing homes are not ready to admit expectant mothers. Family members of Covid-19 patients are forced to wait for many days to get tested. People of Agra are in a state of panic.” Jain’s letter to CM Adityanath even drew the support of Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra, of the BJP’s rival party, Congress.

Now that Agra’s authorities have taken note of the troubling incident, let us hope history doesn’t repeat itself.