Quarantine inmates 'assault' doctor on COVID-19 duty in Tamenglong

The district administration has arrested one person involved in the incident and produced before CJM Tamenglong through a video call.

A medical officer who was on duty amid COVID-19 pandemic in Tamenglong district headquarters was physically assaulted allegedly by inmates of Don Bosco School community quarantine centre on June 16. The medical department has threatened to hold a ‘pen-down strike’ from June 18.

A meeting was held at the office of the chief medical officer Tamenglong along with the doctors of Tamenglong, concerning the expired ultimatum served to the district administration for arrests of the culprits by 2:00 pm of June 18 and putting them into jail.

Tamenglong police has registered FIR against the inmates under section 188/269, 353 IPC and 51 (b) DMA 2005.

The meeting decided to give another 48 hours to book all the culprits and resolved to hold a cease work strike until all the accused persons were put into jail or given stringent action. However, all activities regarding pandemic COVID-19 would continue.

Meanwhile, the district administration, Tamenglong has arrested one person involved in the incident and produced before CJM Tamenglong through a video call.

The statement issued by CJM Tamenglong said that the alleged offence is a non bailable offence; however, being conscious of the unprecedented outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the said quarantine centre where the accused have been placed being declared as containment zone, it is in the best interest of all that the accused be released on interim bail for 14 days from Thursday or until his test results are obtained, whichever is earlier. The test result of the accused is still awaited and more particularly the minor son of the accused who already tested positive, it said.

He shall be subject to furnishing a PR bond of Rs 50,000 and also subject to the condition that he shall not commit similar offences, and cooperate with the authorities be it medical or the investigating authorities, it said. He shall surrender before the court on expiry of 14 days or as and when his test result has been obtained whichever is earlier, it added.

It may be mentioned that on expiry of 14 days or as and when the test  result has been obtained whichever is earlier, the investigating officer shall send a report to this Court. July 1 is fixed for further proceeding stated, CJM Tamenglong Janggoulen Haokip.

In the meeting, the doctors expressed their unhappiness stating that even if problems have occurred to the doctors at the community quarantine centre at Don Bosco School Tamenglong, no civil bodies or NGOs have intervened or made an approach. And moreover, police deployed at the incident acted as mere spectators, they expressed.  

“We are not safe to work as frontliners in the fight against the pandemic COVID-19 and we have taken the decision to hold the strike till the culprits have been arrested,” said a senior doctor.

At around 2:30 pm of June 16, Dr Ruby Panmei and her team members arrived at Don Bosco School community quarantine centre for distribution of discharge slips to all the eligible inmates as per guidelines and SOPs.

While Dr Ruby Panmei was announcing the list of inmates to be discharged, some male inmates reportedly started demanding to hand over the discharge slip of one female inmate who had been transferred and shifted to COVID-19 treatment centre, Imphal the previous day.

After completion of distribution of discharge slip for 125 inmates out of 127 in the list, a mob led by four male inmates reportedly started crossing the containment zone demarcation and allegedly demanded the discharge slip of the said female inmate. The doctor explained that she had already been referred and shifted to COVID-19 treatment centre, Imphal the previous day and hence, her discharge slip cannot be given.

Despite her explanation, two inmates out of the four leading the mob started harassing and abusing the doctor verbally and physically allegedly with expletives after crossing the containment zone boundary.

All the four inmates leading the role in the mob allegedly attacked and grabbed the female doctor's left hand and other parts of the body and allegedly pulled her towards the inmates, exposing her to the highest level of health risk.

Following the incident, the doctors, paramedical and staff submitted an ultimatum to take action against the culturist involved in the assault by 2:00 pm of June 18, failing which the staff will launch the ‘pen-down’ strike as per meeting minutes of the emergency meeting of District Health Society, Tamenglong dated June 17 at 1:00 pm.

In the meantime, chief medical officer Tamenglong Dr Chambo Gonmei appealed to the general public particularly the inmates, who are undergoing quarantine either institutional or community or home to corporate to all the service providers and frontliners including District Administration staff, medical staff, police and media personnel, PHED, Electricity department and all the volunteers in bringing successful control of this current COVID-19 pandemic spread up to the community level.

First Published:June 18, 2020, 11:24 p.m.

Leave a comment