Patiala frontline workers ‘scared’ after incident of manhandling

Villagers pushed around health workers during COVID sampling; five booked

Patiala frontline workers ‘scared’ after incident of manhandling

Photo for representation. PTI file

Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 3

Health workers are now “scared” after some of their colleagues, including women, have been ‘manhandled’ at Kheri Mahlan village in Passiana block of the district.

During a COVID sampling at a brick-kiln outside the village, frontline workers were abused, shoved and Gheraoed by villagers on Wednesday.

It has been learned that a team of the health department had gone for the sampling of migrant workers at a brick kiln situated outside the village. As soon as the health officials started the registration process, villagers reached at the brick kiln with sharp-edged weapons to halt the sampling process.

A frontline health worker said the villagers pushed around health workers, including women, and dubbed the incident as the worst experience of his life.

Notably, health officials have been facing strong opposition from rural areas while sampling.

Another health worker said: “They gheraoed us. They abused us. They pushed us. They even took the keys of the vehicles. I have never experienced this kind of behaviour in my life. We are going the extra mile to save their lives but we have to face this.”

Sharing the experience of the incident, a female health worker said: “The incident has already instilled fear among us. They were so agitated that they could have done anything to us. It was very scary because they (villagers) were very aggressive.”

Patiala Civil Surgeon Dr Harish Malhotra said: “Very unfortunate incident. Our teams are working so hard to save people from coronavirus. Incidents like this demoralise and demotivate our staff.

Patiala Civil Surgeon filed a complaint, after which the police have already booked five villagers for manhandling health workers. The accused have been booked under Section 353, 186, 332, 341, 506, 148 and 149 of the IPC and Section 3 of the Epidemic Disease Act.

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