A junior doctor in Covid facility in Assam’s Hojai, 140 km away from Guwahati was on Tuesday mercilessly beaten, trashed and kicked with metal trash cans and bricks by family members of a Covid patient who allegedly died due to a shortage of oxygen. The deceased patient was admitted to Odali Model Hospital and died around 1.30 pm on Tuesday.
Locals also assaulted the doctor Seuj Kumar Senapati who is now hospitalised but stable.
Video footage of the brutal assault against the doctor has gone viral on social media, following which 24 people in connection with the attack including the main accused, were arrested by the Assam police overnight.
The incident took place on Tuesday afternoon at the city's Udali Model Hospital, where Dr Seuj Kumar Senapati was on duty.
Informing about the arrest, Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma twitter, "Twenty four culprits involved in this barbaric attack have been arrested and a charge sheet will be filed at the earliest. I am personally monitoring this investigation and I promise that justice will be served [sic].”
What’s the incident about?
On Tuesday, a patient named Giyaz Uddin, a resident of Pipal Pukhuri village, died due to complications related to Covid-19.
"The attendant of the patient came to me saying the patient is serious and has not passed urine since morning. I went to the room and found that the patient was dead. As I broke the news to the attendant, another relative started abusing me," Dr Senapati told the media.
Angered by the patient’s death, the crowd attacked the hospital and Dr Senapati locked himself, while most of the medical officers ran away from the site.
However, the mob broke through the room and assaulted him, leaving his condition critical.
"They ransacked the hospital, we (the staff) ran for safety. I entered a room and tried to hide but they found me and assaulted me. They snatched my gold chain, my ring and my mobile," Dr Senapati added, saying there were around 30 people who attacked him and the hospital.
Seriously injured, Dr Senapati was right away shifted to another hospital in Nagaon.
The physical assault on the doctor has drawn widespread condemnation. Assam Legislative Assembly Deputy Speaker Dr Numal Momin told the media that it was Dr Seuj Kumar Senapati's first day at work in a rural area after he had completed his MBBS course.
Himanta Biswa Sarma condemning the attack said that such barbaric violent attacks on frontline workers will not be tolerated.
"Brutality against a doctor post MBBS, rural posting is highly condemnable. I demand an impartial inquiry and Strict action against those culprits,” he tweeted.
IMA Assam condemned the barbaric assault.
Dr JA Jayalal, president of the Indian Medical Association, has denounced the incident, while the Assam chapter of Assam Medical Services Association (AMSA) members have asked for strict action against the attackers under relevant laws. They have also boycotted the OPD services for today in all government medical facilities along with emergency services.
The IMA Assam state branch in a press statement said, "The IMA and all the doctors are at a loss at this gruesome reward to a frontline worker in Covid duty."
Doctors will wear black badges as a mark of protest, however, Coronavirus duties will continue.
The IMA has also warned the government that the medical fraternity is suffering and is becoming difficult for them to control the emotions of people at this time of public health emergency.
Assam’s, GP Singh, Additional Director General of Police has said that a case had been lodged.