With rising attacks amidst Coronavirus, doctors ask Amit Shah to bring Central law on Violence against doctors
IMA writes to the Home minister expressing concern over such incidents
Delhi - With no end to violent attack on doctors, even during the times COVID-19 pandemic, the medical fraternity has renewed its demand from the government to enact the Central law for protection of doctors
In this regard he Indian Medical Association on Friday wrote to Home Minister Amit Shah demanding to bring a central legislation to strictly deal with such issues.
Medical Dialogues has repeatedly reported about the issue, with the doctors constantly demanding that there be one common law on the issue of violence against healthcare workers. Last year, the health ministry had also drafted a bill on the matter. The Health Services Personnel and Clinical Establishments (Prohibition of Violence and Damage to Property) Bill, 2019, which seeks to punish people who assault on-duty doctors and other healthcare professionals by imposing a jail term of up to 10 years was dismissed by the Home Ministry during an inter-ministerial consultation over the draft law.
However, the Ministry of Home Affairs has rejected bill calling for central law stating that there is no need for a separate law for violence against doctors, and if the same comes into play, other fraternities such as lawyers and police will also start demanding the same.
With the pandemic bringing the importance of protection of healthcare workers in limelight, the IMA has written to the Home ministry to consider the matter
"The need to strengthen 23 state laws is becoming clear every day. IMA once again points out that central legislation under items 1 and 2 of the concurrent list i.e. IPC and CrPC are absolutely essential to deal with such situations. Kindly consider our plea," the IMA said in its letter.
There has been a spate of attack and abuse on frontline health workers ever since India imposed the lockdown to contain the spread of the virus. These workers, mostly nurses, and ASHAs, have been visiting villages to screen people and examine those in home quarantine and self-isolation.
Reports of women health workers facing harassment are also pouring in from various states.
Talking to news agency IANS, IMA president Dr Ranjan Sharma said such incidents are increasing and there is lack of good deterrence in law for dealing with such incidents. He pointed out an incident near Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi where two young lady doctors were accosted and abused physically and verbally by an assailant, and asked, "how long such abuses be tolerated especially amidst a pandemic?"
"Morale of the medical and allied healthcare workers is vital to fight the current epidemic. Such demoralizing incidents have to stop. We once again demand an ordinance against violence on doctors, nurses, health care workers and hospitals," he told the news agency.
Last week, residents of a locality in Indore pelted stones at healthcare workers who had gone there to screen people, leaving two female doctors injured.
In another incident, locals in Munger town in Bihar attacked police and medical personnel when they visited the area to collect samples from people suspected of having coronavirus infection.
In Hyderabad, a duty doctor and the staff were attacked after a 49-year-old COVID-19 patient died. In Maharashtra's Solapur, a 56-year-old man was attacked after he informed the authorities about the arrival of those who attended the Tablighi Jamaat event in Delhi.
In Bengaluru, an ASHA worker was attacked in Hegdenagar where she had gone to create awareness about the pandemic.
Clashes were reported from West Bengal between police and locals after the former tried to collect COVID-19 data.
On Wednesday, a group of women health workers and a woman constable were allegedly sexually harassed and manhandled by a group of men in Panchkula, Haryana.