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Delhi’s Bengali Market sweet shop owner booked for housing workers in ‘unhygienic conditions’




Workers spray disinfectants on a police barricade near Bengali Market, in New Delhi on 9 April 2020
Workers spray disinfectants on a police barricade near Bengali Market, in New Delhi on 9 April 2020 | Kamal Kishore | PTI

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New Delhi: The popular Bengali Market was one of the first areas in Lutyens’ Delhi that was sealed by Delhi Police Wednesday after 35 workers were found living under “unhygienic conditions” on the rooftop of a pastry shop in alleged violation of all social distancing norms.

All the 35 workers were employed with the popular Bengali Pastry Shop and Snack Bar. Two of the workers were found unwell and have been taken for Covid-19 testing. 

An FIR under Section 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) of the IPC and under Epidemic Diseases Act was filed against the owner of the shop Thursday. 

The shop has, however, denied any wrongdoing, saying it had only provided shelter to its workers who couldn’t go back to their native states after the sudden announcement of the lockdown.

In a statement posted on Twitter Thursday, the shop alleged “widespread defamation”. It said it was closed since 25 March, when the lockdown came into effect, and the “people who were living with us were taking shelter in our establishment since then as they could not go back to their respective hometowns due to the immediate lockdown”.

Also read: App for milk, vendors at the gate — how Delhi-NCR’s hotspots managed on Day 1 of ‘sealing’

All workers evacuated

Prahlad Singh, Station House Officer of Barakhamba police station, told ThePrint all the workers of the shop who had taken shelter on its terrace have been evacuated.

“All the workers, evacuated from the rooftop of the shop and the nearby areas who don’t have an accommodation of their own, are being shifted to a shelter camp located in R.K. Puram Sector 13,” he added.

The whole area surrounding the Bengali Market is being heavily sanitised both manually and with the help of machines.

When this reporter visited the market in the afternoon, as many as 30 sanitary personnel were seen around the pastry shop itself.

A government official said there are around 325 houses in the Bengali Market area with 2,000 people residing in them.

All adjoining areas sealed

The 35 workers were found living under “unhygienic conditions” and in small and confined spaces Wednesday when a team of New Delhi Municipal Council and Delhi Police was carrying out a door-to-door survey in the area to find Covid-19 suspects.

The survey was ordered after three people in the neighbourhood tested positive for Covid-19.

“Along with the Bengali Market area, adjoining areas such as Babar Road, Todarmal Road, Babar Lane have also been completely sealed with strict instructions being given to not step out at all as all the essential commodities will be provided to them at the doorsteps,” DCP, New Delhi, Eish Singhal, told ThePrint.

The Delhi government Wednesday announced sealing of 22 Covid-19 hotspots in the national capital, including the Bengali Market, to combat the spread of the virus.

Also read: Indian doctors are pessimistic and are bracing for a tsunami of coronavirus cases


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Andhra doctor, suspended for alleging PPE shortage, now beaten by cops for ‘creating nuisance’




doctor with a stethoscope
A doctor with a stethoscope (Representative image) | Pixabay

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Bengaluru: A doctor with a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of PPE kits, was admitted to a mental health facility Sunday, a day after he was allegedly manhandled by the police and arrested for creating nuisance in Visakhapatnam.

Dr Sudhakar Rao, a government civil surgeon, was beaten, his hands tied behind his back and dragged by police officers Sunday. During the incident, Sudhakar allegedly verbally abused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in an inebriated state. Videos of the incident have since been widely shared online.

“The police control room received a call about a person creating nuisance on Beach Road Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The Fourth Town police was rushed there and found that the person was the suspended doctor, Sudhakar.

“When the police tried to control him, he snatched the mobile phone of an officer and threw it away. He is suffering from mental disorder and he was drunk. He was sent for a medical examination,” Vishakapatnam Police Commissioner R.K. Meena told the media Sunday.

Sudhakar was admitted to a mental hospital Sunday after doctors at the King George Hospital in Vishakapatnam said he suffered from anxiety.

“Since the doctor is in anxiety and talking irrelevant things, I have referred him to a mental care hospital in Visakhapatnam,” said Dr Radha Rani, medical superintendent, King George Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said: “Dr Sudhakar was brought to the KGH casualty ward at 6.30 pm. From the smell, it was found that he was in a drunk condition. Under the influence of alcohol, he did not cooperate with anybody there and kept abusing all. Still, his pulse, BP were checked. Pulse was 98, BP 140/100. Blood samples were sent to forensic lab to ascertain alcohol content in his blood.”

Also read: 6 toilets for 20 houses, inadequate testing: Why Mumbai’s Worli chawls are a Covid hotspot

‘Treatment towards Sudhakar was inhuman’

Sudhakar, who spent more than 10 years at the Narsipatnam Government Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, was suspended from his duties in March after he openly criticised the Reddy government for failing to provide PPE kits and N95 masks to doctors treating Covid-19 patients.

He had alleged that the state government was giving N95 masks and PPE kits meant for doctors to politicians and the police.

A video of Sudhakar criticising the government was also shared widely. In the clip, he can be heard saying: “We are putting our lives at risk here. We are asked to use the same mask for 15 days and a fresh mask will be provided only twice a month.”

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr P. Gangadhar Rao, member of the National COVID Committee of the Indian Medical Association, said the manner in which Sudhakar was manhandled by the police was “inhuman” and “violated” human rights.

“We strongly condemn the way he was taken into custody. He was not carrying a weapon, he was alone, the number of policemen outnumbered him. Why treat him like that? We also saw a video where a policeman beats him with a lathi,” said Dr Gangadhar.

He added that Rao was one of the most experienced anaesthetists the Andhra Pradesh government had.

“Our next step of action is to get Sudhakar to write an unconditional apology for having used filthy language, abusing the chief minister and the government. We will then take our appeal to the CM seeking that he be reinstated,” Gangadhar said.

Also read: Face shields, gowns, masks — the new attire for cabin crew post lockdown


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