What Kind a Country Pelts Stones at Doctors, Our Only Chance Against Coronavirus?


What Kind a Country Pelts Stones at Doctors, Our Only Chance Against Coronavirus?

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

As if there wasn’t enough to worry about with a pandemic that has led to 437 deaths, and a nationwide lockdown as a consequence, residents in some parts of India, it seems, are on a mission to make things worse.

Weeks after being asked to gather at their balconies to honour healthcare workers who are at the frontlines of this global war, 17 residents of Moradabad district in Uttar Pradesh were arrested for pelting stones at a medical team in an ambulance.

The shocking incident was received with strong condemnation by thousands of social media users, including BJP’s national spokesperson Sambit Patra.

The healthcare workers were attempting to screen potential patients, after a Covid-19 case was confirmed in the area, reports said. Visuals from the colony that were shared online showed smashed police vans and streets littered with stones, in a scene that unfortunately seems to be becoming all too common in our country.

This latest display of disdain proved to be the final straw for a few doctors and nurses in the state, who have reportedly refused to conduct door-to-door screening of residents, and have instead requested that the police take over.

Apart from dealing with a lack of supplies, and shifts that would make even the most hardworking buckle under pressure, doctors across the country have also had to face the wrath of locals in several states, ever since the pandemic broke out.

As reported by scroll.in earlier today, similar scenes played out in at least four districts in Bihar over the last couple of days. A few weeks ago in Munger district, meanwhile, healthcare workers who went to collect samples were pelted with stones.

The state’s DGP was forced to put out a strong message for these criminals on Thursday.

All this, of course, comes barely two weeks after a mob pelted stones at doctors and nurses in two separate parts of Indore in Madhya Pradesh. The city has, over the last few days, emerged as one of the country’s latest Covid-19 hotspots.

Reports of doctors being harassed have emerged from other states like Maharashtra and Gujarat as well. A collective of AIIMS doctors have detailed seven of these incidents in a circular addressed to Home Minister Amit Shah, requesting more protection.

A pandemic, of course, is an unprecedented challenge for our healthcare industry. But at the rate we’re going, it’s only a matter of time before all the doctors and nurses in the country announce that they’re going through a different kind of crisis — one that has nothing to do with coronavirus.