As India underwent a complete lock down on Tuesday, social stigma related to coronavirus became more apparent as Resident Doctors’ Association (RDA) of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) reached out to Home Minister Amit Shah complaining about their forceful eviction by their landlords over covid-19 pandemic. The doctors cited that their landlords are scared that doctors can be the carriers of the novel coronavirus infection.
In a formal complaint to the home minister, the RDA said, doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers involved in covid-19 care are being asked to vacate their rented homes and some have been even forcefully evicted from their temporary residence by landlords and house owners due to the fear that the healthcare professionals make them more susceptible to the coronavirus infection.
The Association also said that amid the complete lockdown of public transport in most of the states, working healthcare professionals are facing difficulty to reach their workplace.
"We request you to arrange proper transport for the healthcare providers across the country and direct the police and involved security administration to allow them to travel hassle free upon producing their Identity Cards," the RDA said in the complaint.
The letter signed by Dr Adarsh Pratap Singh, the president of AIIMS RDA, and Dr Srinivas Rajkumar T, the general secretary of the association further stated, “An order from the home minister in this regard will ensure "our selfless services to our country in crucial time of COVID-19 pandemic."
When the issue came into the notice of Delhi government, Arvind Kejriwal, chief minister of Delhi sharply criticising the discriminators said that services of doctors in this difficult times should be appreciated instead.
“I want to urge people to not discriminate. There have been incidents where doctors and nurses along with their familes have face the discrimination. We all stood when the Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked to clap for their services but now we are discriminating against these same people," said Kejrwal.
“We should instead salute them for the work they are doing. Just because they are working with patients doesn't mean they are affected," he said.
In reaction to the incidents of discrimination against doctors, Union minister of health and family welfare Harsh Vardhan tweeted, “I’m DEEPLY ANGUISHED to see reports pouring in from Delhi, Noida, Warangal, Chennai etc that DOCTORS & PARAMEDICS are being ostracised in residential complexes & societies. Landlords are threatening to evict them fearing#COVID2019 infection. Please don’t panic!"
In another tweet he said, “All precautions are being taken by doctors &staff on #COVID2019 duty to ensure they’re not carriers of infection in anyway. Any harsh steps will demoralise them, derail the system. On Sunday, nation applauded their selfless services. It’s our bounden duty 2 keep their morale high."
Pretika Khanna contributed to this story