Two more arrested in doctor's assault case in COVID hospital in Assam's Hajoi district

GUWAHATI: Two more persons, including a woman, were arrested on Saturday for being allegedly involved in the assault of a doctor at a COVID Care Centre in Assam’s Hojai district, taking the total number of arrests to 28 so far, police said.

Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma during the day also met the assaulted doctor, to enquire about his health and later held discussion with a delegation of the Assam state branch of Indian Medical Association on several issues of doctors welfare, particularly the security of on-duty doctors.

Back-to-back incidents of attack on doctors engaged in treatment of COVID patients in Hailakandi and Hajoi districts of Assam had hit the national headlines.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) took cognisance of the June one incident in Hajoi and has sought an action-taken report from the state government within four weeks.

The police had launched a massive search operation after a video of the doctor being assaulted in a medical facility in Hajoi by a mob had gone viral on social media and subsequently arrested 24 people while two others were absconding.

The police nabbed the duo, identified as Mukhtar Ali and Gurnehar Begum from Greater Udali area.

Besides the doctor, a nurse was also injured in the attack though she managed to hide in the toilet and was later shifted to Nagaon Civil Hospital for treatment.

Special Director General of Police (Law and Order) G P Singh said that altogether 28 persons have been arrested in the Hojai doctor assault case and efforts are on to submit the chargesheet within the mandated period.

Appropriate sections of Epidemic Diseases Act, as amended in 2020 have been added to the case, Singh said.

Two persons have aalready been arrested in the Hailakandi assault case on May 27.

Meanwhile, the chief minister Saturday visited Medical Officer Dr Seuj Kumar Senapati at the Gauhati Medical College Hospital to know his health condition.

He also interacted with the doctors family members and assured him that he would be posted in any government health institution of his choice after he resumes duty.

Dr Senapati was attacked by a mob while on duty at Udali COVID Care Centre in Hojai on June one.

The chief minister said that the state government stands strongly with Senapati and all the doctors who are serving with dedication in the time of pandemic.

Doctors, paramedics and all medical workers have set an example of dedication and commitment through their tireless service in the fight against COVID-19 and they must be shown the respect they deserve, he asserted.

Sarma warned that strict action would be taken as per law against perpetrators and those who attack doctors and medical staffs would not be spared.

A delegation of the Assam chapter of the Indian Medical Association met the chief minister and submitted a memorandum, urging him to make immediate arrangement of armed security in all government hospitals, health care facilities, including all COVID Care Centres.

The delegation, led by state President Dr Satyajit Borah, also demanded 24 hours uninterrupted power supply and CCTVs functional 24X7 in all hospitals and health care facilities.

The doctors also demanded the amendment of the Assam Medicare Service Persons and Medicare Service Institutions (Prevention of Violence and Damage to Propert) Act, 2011 to include more stringent provisions like imprisonment upto ten years, fine upto Rs five lakh and fast track trial with conviction within six months.

The doctors also demanded that the number of patients attendants should be strictly controlled in all hospitals.

All sensitive areas in the state, with a history of violence in health establishments and doctors should be identified and no young doctor be posted in those areas alone under the ‘Rural Posting’ obligation.

The delegation also demanded that all private hospitals should also be asked to tighten the security measures in a similar manner.

The chief minister assured them that all their genuine demands will be fulfilled and the state government will take all measures for the security of the medical professionals.

The delegation also presented a cheque of Rs one lakh to Sarma as the IMA’s contribution to the chief minister’s relief fund.