At least 24 people have been arrested for allegedly assaulting a doctor at a medical facility in Hojai district following the death of a COVID-19 patient there, central Assam’s Hojai district’s police said.
The incident happened on Tuesday after the death of a COVID-19 patient.
The police said that it will submit a “strong chargesheet” in the case in a short period of time to punish the people involved in the alleged attack on Dr Seuj Kumar Senapati at the Udali Care Centre on Tuesday.
Condemning the incident, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Twitter said, “Twenty-four 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.”
Director General of Police Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta said they are taking the incident very seriously as doctors are fighting the pandemic at the forefront and the attack on Senapati is “like assaulting all the frontline workers”.
“And @assampolice would not let that happen. We WILL bring the perpetrators to justice. Let this be known, assaulting frontline worker will not be tolerated. A strong case is being made against them,” he said in a series of tweets.
Special DGP (Law and Order) Gyanendra Pratap Singh said the main accused persons and conspirators, including a woman seen in a video of the incident, have been arrested.
“We would submit a strong chargesheet in the shortest possible time and ensure the criminals are brought to justice,” he said on the microblogging site.
Hojai Superintendent of Police Barun Purkayastha had said a critically ill coronavirus-positive patient succumbed to the disease at Udali Covid Care Centre on Tuesday afternoon.
“Immediately after that, the relatives and a group of people known to the victim arrived there and started beating up the doctor. After getting the information, our team reached there and arrested three persons. Further investigation is on,” he said.
A video of the attack which went viral on social media showed that a person, apparently looked like the doctor, was being assaulted by a group of people, including women.
All political parties have condemned the incident and asked the government to take strict action against the culprits.
Meanwhile, the Assam Medical Service Association (AMSA) announced that their members will hold demonstrations to protest against the assault and said they would boycott all OPD services on Wednesday across Assam.
“If next time, any such incident occurs to any health workers, AMSA will immediately go for complete cease work of all services all over the state,” the association said in a statement.
The staffers in emergency services and COVID Centre will wear black badges, and they demanded enhanced security at all hospitals and healthcare facilities.
“Assam Health Security Force should be started in the line of CISF (Central Industrial Security Force) and AISF (Assam Industrial Security Force).
“As initiation of ‘Health Security Force’ will take longer time, we request immediate recruitment of temporary security personnel for hospitals,” the AMSA said.
In a letter to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, the Indian Medical Association termed the attack on Senapati as “extremely inhuman” and sought strict action against the culprits immediately.
“India needs a comprehensive, uniform & effective law against healthcare violence. We request you to kindly approve an effective & strong act,” it added.