The COVID-19 pandemic has been a trying time for all, with more than 3.35 lakh people dead and nearly 28 million cases recorded till date. But even as frontline workers are hailed as the heroes of the pandemic, attacks against doctors and other essential workers continue.
On Tuesday, a video went viral, showing a doctor being brutally assaulted Assam's Hojai district, purportedly by the friends and family of a deceased COVID-19 patient. Superintendent of Police Barun Purkayastha told news agency PTI that the group had attacked soon after news came that a critically ill COVID-19 patient had succumbed to the disease. The doctor in question has now been hospitalised.
The incident took place at the Udali Model Hospital. A video clip of the attack that has since gone viral on social media show an individual being punched and kicked and attacked by a metal trash can and bricks. The clip was also shared by Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who tagged the state police and sought justice. "Such barbaric attacks on our frontline workers won't be tolerated by our administration," he added.
In a follow up post on Wednesday, Sarma said that a total of 24 people had been arrested over the incident. "24 culprits involved in this barbaric attack have been arrested and the chargesheet will be filed at the earliest. I am personally monitoring this investigation and I promise that justice will be served," he assured.
The news has also evoked widespread criticism in the medical fraternity with the Resident Doctors Association of AIIMS demandig strict action against the perpetrators according to the Epidemic Disease Act, 1897. The Indian Medical Association (IMA) and the Assam Medical Service Association have both condemned the incident.
The IMA also wrote to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, requesting him to approve an effective and strong act against healthcare violence.
On Wednesday, doctors at Guwahati medical college and hospital (GMCH) staged a protest demanding inquiry into the incident.
(With inputs from agencies)