India: Gang Beats Coronavirus Doctor After Patient Dies

Doctors wearing protective gear walk among vehicles during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, on the outskirts of Srinagar on May 8, 2020. (Photo by Tauseef MUSTAFA / AFP) (Photo by TAUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP via Getty Images)
TAUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP via Getty Images

Police in the Western Indian state of Maharashtra arrested four men on Sunday for allegedly beating a medical doctor after a Chinese coronavirus patient died in his care, the Press Trust of India (PTI) reported.

The incident took place at Vilasrao Deshmukh Government Medical Sciences Institute in the Maharashtra city of Latur “during the intervening night of Saturday [June 12] and Sunday [June 13],” Maharashtra police told PTI.

The suspects in the attack were reportedly friends with the son of the deceased patient.

“The accused used abusive language against Dr Amit Varma (24) and thrashed him alleging that he didn’t treat their friend’s father properly [sic],” Maharashtra police sub-inspector Kiran Pathare said, as quoted by PTI. Pathare added that Dr. Varma “did not suffer any serious injury in the incident.”

Dr. Varma filed an official report documenting the altercation with Maharashtra police on June 13, according to Pathare.

“Based on the complaint lodged by the doctor, a case was registered against the four accused at Gandhi Chowk police station under IPC [Indian Penal Code] sections 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt), 504 (intentional insult), and arrested them,” PTI reported.

Maharashtra police identified the detained suspects as “Shubham Dilip Nakade (25), Shriniwas Govindrao Dhobe (25), Akash Pramod Shete (20), Namdev Hanumant Shinde (29).”

News of Dr. Varma’s assault comes just 11 days after a similar incident in northeastern India’s Assam state in which a mob of at least 24 people physically attacked a doctor after a critically ill coronavirus patient died in his care.

“[T]he relatives [of the deceased patient] and a group of people known to the [coronavirus] victim arrived there [at the hospital] and started beating up the doctor,” Barun Purkayastha, the superintendent of police in the Assam town of Hojai, told PTI on June 2.

Assam police arrested 24 people in connection with the mob attack, which occurred inside Hojai’s Udali Covid Care Center. The assault was prolonged and involved the mob dragging Dr. Seuj Kumar Senapati through a hospital corridor and onto the facility’s outdoor lawn, where his savage beating continued at the hands of men and women. Dr. Senapati was later hospitalized for injuries sustained during the incident.

“Such barbaric attacks on our frontline workers won’t be tolerated by our administration,” Chief Minister of Assam Himanta Biswa Sarma told reporters on June 2.

Police across India have recorded several instances of physical assault on coronavirus doctors and medical workers since the country’s Chinese coronavirus epidemic began. Some healthcare workers have been targeted by mobs because people fear that they carry the Chinese coronavirus, while others, such as Dr. Varma and Dr. Senapati, were blamed for the deaths of their coronavirus patients.

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