The Resident Doctors’ Association of AIIMS wrote to Amit Shah Tuesday requesting action against harassment of medics in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
New Delhi: As the coronavirus outbreak sweeps across the world, it has also led to discrimination and harassment of different groups of people, especially healthcare professionals and crew members in the airline industry.
The Resident Doctors’ Association (RDA) of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences made an urgent plea to Home Minister Amit Shah Tuesday requesting action against eviction of healthcare professionals by landlords in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Hours later, Shah asked Delhi Commissioner of Police S.N. Shrivastava to ensure security of doctors facing harassment.
The RDA letter, dated 24 March, came after several doctors and nurses at the AIIMS, Delhi, complained of being forcibly evicted by their landlords over fears that they could spread COVID-19.
Doctors across the country have been “stranded on the roads with all their luggage”, read the RDA letter, which came two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to people to observe a janata curfew Sunday to show appreciation for healthcare professionals.
Responding to the forcible evictions, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said in a statement Tuesday that he was “deeply anguished” and urged doctors to not panic.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal too expressed concern over the evictions.
Attributing these evictions to public fear, compounded by lockdowns, Dr K.K. Aggarwal, cardiologist and president of the Heart Care Foundation of India, said curfews imposed without proper counselling has triggered panic among people.
The RDA letter also highlights that many medics were facing difficulties in travelling from one place to another due to the lockdowns. The association has requested proper transport for healthcare professionals.
‘Threatened by my society’
The evictions first became public when several government doctors took to Twitter to tell their stories, exhorting PM Modi and the media to intervene.
I’m myself a govt. doctor being threatened by my Society. Please help @narendramodi sir. @PMOIndia @ZeeNews https://twitter.com/DevPalkar/status/1242125343940472833 …Dr.Devashish@DevPalkarSo many incidents are coming to light of sincere govt doctors who are now being threatened to enter their own homes! Please look seriously into this matter@narendramodi sir.
A govt doctor.3,73010:04 PM – Mar 23, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacy2,681 people are talking about this
So many incidents are coming to light of sincere govt doctors who are now being threatened to enter their own homes! Please look seriously into this matter@narendramodi sir.
A govt doctor.
These tweets later led to a public outcry.
Please name and shame your asshole landlords. They need to give you notice before they threaten to evict you. Lawyers, please come to the rescue of doctors.
Thanks. https://twitter.com/kumarmanish9/status/1242197796330950657 …Kumar Manish #StayAtHome ✔@kumarmanish9On Sunday, 5pm, the #India was clapping for doctors & health workers. Today lot of social media posts doing the rounds on how doctors & health workers are refused by housing societies to live as they might carry #coronavirus to their home.
Depressing. Pathetic. Inhuman.2,1608:47 AM – Mar 24, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacy654 people are talking about this
On Sunday, 5pm, the #India was clapping for doctors & health workers. Today lot of social media posts doing the rounds on how doctors & health workers are refused by housing societies to live as they might carry #coronavirus to their home.
Depressing. Pathetic. Inhuman.2,9772:43 AM – Mar 24, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacy1,538 people are talking about this
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has also written to Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, seeking government support to overcome challenges faced by the medical fraternity, said Dr R.V. Ashokan, secretary general of the IMA.
“In the medical profession, there are two things we are fighting — fear and stigma. We have been fighting these for centuries, be it for syphilis, the plague or HIV,” he said.
Citing instances of unpaid stipends to students at a Telangana medical college, Ashokan also said the government should disburse remuneration by “taking help” of the Epidemic Act, 1897 and the Disaster Management Act.
He also highlighted the dearth of protective masks and lack of medical insurance for medics. “Keeping morale is important. Doctors are like the army, turning up for duty. Morale has to be kept high, and this can be done when adequate protection is available.”