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UP doctor alleges viral video provoked mob to attack his team in Moradabad, police to probe

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Dr S.C. Agarwal was among those injured in a Covid-19-related mob attack in Moradabad | Photo: ANI
Dr S.C. Agarwal was among those injured in a Covid-19-related mob attack in Moradabad | Photo: ANI


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Lucknow: The Uttar Pradesh Police have intensified their investigation into the attack on a medical team conducting tests for Covid-19 in Moradabad district, and arrested 17 people, including 10 men and seven women.

Amid all this, Dr S.C. Agarwal, a member of the team that was attacked, has told the media that a viral video about alleged mistreatment and mismanagement at quarantine centres might be the main factor that provoked the mob.

Agarwal also alleged that local residents had many misconceptions about the Covid-19 crisis, which could have resulted in their violent behaviour.

The police are now looking into Agarwal’s statement.


Also read: ‘Do you want to reduce India’s population?’ Salman Khan calls out lockdown violators


What the doctor said

Agarwal said he and his team had gone to Moradabad to test relatives of Sartaj, who had died of the novel coronavirus on 13 April.

“We had successfully managed to take Sartaj’s wife and his daughter into quarantine for further testing. But things went awry when we reached a place near Nagphani police station to collect his two sons, brother and nephew,” he said.

“We had already talked to them on the phone. When we reached there, people started to assemble near the ambulance in the form of a mob. Some of them started to say that during quarantine period, food is not being provided to persons of a specific community, and they are left to starve,” Agarwal said.

“Some people said there are several videos circulating in which quarantined persons are saying that they are not being provided meals. Hearing all this, other people in the crowd got agitated and started to shout maro inhe (beat them up),” the doctor added.

“We tried to convince them but nobody was ready to listen to anything. The mob surrounded us from all sides and started to lash us. Stones were also pelted from nearby buildings. It was a horrendous scene. Several of my colleagues and I got injured.”


Also read: UP doctor dies, social media posts claim it was after she was attacked by Covid-19 patient


Strict action against those spreading rumours

Speaking about Dr Agarwal’s claims, Moradabad city SP Amit Anand told ThePrint that the UP Police will also investigate the viral video angle.

Anand said strict action will be taken against all those involved in spreading rumours. “There is no lapse or negligence taking place at the quarantine centres. All persons are being provided adequate food. Some miscreants are spreading false rumours through social media and the police will surely take action against them,” Anand said.

The SP added that the police are investigating the case with the help of mobile phone footage and CCTV cameras, and that a drone camera has also captured a video of stones being pelted from a house. “In this footage, some women are also seen. It is also being investigated,” he said.

Child rights body gets involved

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights has also expressed apprehensions of there being a deliberate ploy to engage minors in attack plans in this incident.

The NCPCR has appealed to the police to identify those who instigated children, and has asked them to take action under Section 83 (2) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act. NCPCR chairperson Priyank Kanoongo has also tweeted about this.

UP CM Yogi Adityanath has issued orders to invoke the National Security Act in this incident. The state government also plans to extract fines from the accused persons for damaging public property.


Also read: Indore doctor returns for coronavirus screening day after mob attack, says I’m not afraid


 

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

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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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