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At Haryana epicentre Nuh, officials fighting virus with help from Muslim priests, panchayats




An empty village in Nuh district | Photo: Sajid Ali | ThePrint
An empty village in Nuh district | Photo: Sajid Ali | ThePrint

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Nuh: There are rows of trucks along the empty highway from Gurugram towards the district of Nuh in Haryana. The region is home to a number of truck drivers but most of them are harvesting wheat on fields alongside the roads — a routine they carry out in this season every year.      

Nuh has been in the news as it accounts for the largest number of coronavirus cases in Haryana. Of the 185 cases in the state as of Tuesday, 45 are from Nuh district.  

The Nuh Deputy Commissioner, Pankaj, told ThePrint that of the 45 patients, 37 are associated with the Tabligi Jamaat and one is a truck driver. The remaining seven patients are either family members or neighbours who came in contact with the truck driver.

“Until now, about 1,200 drivers have returned and only one of them has been found to be Covid-19 positive. The situation is completely under control for now but we are fully prepared for the battle lying ahead,” Pankaj said.

He added that the administration has been receiving support from panchayats and religious leaders to spread awareness about the virus.

“At present, there are 150 isolation beds at hospitals in the district. About 90 patients from three other districts are also admitted in Nuh. We are also operating four quarantine centres and another one is about to be started.” 

Nuh DCP Pankaj Yadav | Photo: Sajid Ali | ThePrint
Nuh DC Pankaj | Photo: Sajid Ali | ThePrint

Lockdown in Nuh

Much like in the rest of the country, empty streets and downed shutters are the norm in Nuh. But DC Pankaj said that in 34 of the 443 villages and in two of the towns in the district, the lockdown has been stringent. 

“We have completely cordoned off 36 villages, including two kasbas (towns). Home delivery of essentials like groceries and vegetables has already started,” Pankaj said. “There is complete restriction on public movement.” 

He added that with the help of ASHA and anganwadi workers, the district administration has managed to conduct door-to-door screening of about 1.2 million residents of the district in the last 10 days.

“About 20 villages are yet to be screened but the task will be completed there very soon,” he said. 

Pankaj further said that in the rest of the villages, the administration has allowed agrarian work to continue.  

“No pass is required for single persons (individuals) engaged in harvesting work. But passes are being issued to combines and threshers coming in from other states,” the DCP said. 

“Besides this, procurement of mustard crop will start from 15 April and for wheat crop the initial date of procurement has been fixed at 20 April,” he added. “For this, panchayats will be issued fixed schedules along with a list of farmers so that social distancing can be adhered to at the time of procurement process.”  

Also read: Haryana doubles salaries of healthcare officials and workers fighting Covid-19

One village completely sealed

The administration has completely sealed Khanpur Ghati village, about 30 km from the district headquarters at Nuh, after six people tested Covid-19 positive on a single day.  

There is a blanket ban on all types of movement while a team of doctors has been conducting three rounds of visits every day. Even media access to the village has been completely blocked. 

Police have been maintaining a strict vigil at all entry points to the village.

Police at the entry to Khanpur Ghati village | Photo: Sajid Ali | ThePrint
Police at the entry to Khanpur Ghati village | Photo: Sajid Ali | ThePrint

Religious leaders come forward to help 

DC Pankaj said panchayats and religious leaders have extended their full support to the administration. 

“Clergy members from the districts have issued appeals in audio and video format urging people to offer namaz from inside their homes. Besides they are also advising people to fully comply with lockdown rules,” Pankaj said. 

Mufti Zahid Hussain, chief of Nuh’s bada madrasa, told ThePrint that he has been ensuring awareness on the importance of social distancing during the pandemic.   

Apart from him, Hameem Uddin Ashraf Utawadi, vice-president of the Jamiat Ulama, Haryana-Punjab-Himachal Pradesh, has also released a video urging people to follow all directions issued by the central government. 

Also read: Haryana bans chewing gums to check Covid-19. Experts say no proof of link but praise move

  • The copy has been updated to correct the designation of Pankaj who is is the Nuh deputy commissioner and not the deputy commissioner of police.

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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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