On the evening of June 1, a disturbing video surfaced on Twitter, and in no time, all the major social media outlets were awash with its graphic visuals. The viral video showed a Muslim mob breaking into the Udali Covid Care Centre in the Indian state of Assam, while security personnel and staff members struggled to stop them. The mob then attacked Dr. Seuj Kumar Senapat and thrashed him, leaving him black and blue all over his body. These hoodlums were relatives of a critically ill Covid patient who had succumbed to the viral disease. The video triggered massive outrage on social media, with users tagging the Chief Ministers and administrative higher-ups and calling upon them to take exemplary actions against the perpetrators. Condemning the attack, the Indian Medical Association wrote to Home Minister Amit Shah and demanded immediate strict action on the culprits.
According to the latest reports, 24 people have been arrested for planning and executing the brutal assault on one of India’s frontline defenses against Covid, damaging the Covid care facility and destroying medical equipment.
A Twitter user by the name of Dr Syed Faizan Ahmad made a sly attempt to provoke anti-Hindu sentiments by holding a famed Hindu Yoga practitioner-cum-business tycoon, Baba Ramdev, responsible for this mayhem, as the latter is known to trust Ayurveda more than allopathy. To Faizan Ahmad’s dismay, the hooligans were actually all Muslims, none of whom, of course, followed the Hindu Yogi. The mob was only looking to avenge the death of their relative. The arrested perpetrators include men as well as women, including MD Kamaruddin, Rahim Uddin, Misba Begum, Rajul Islam, Tayebur Rahman.
This is not the first time that the furious relatives of dead Muslim patients mobilized massive mobs to take down hospitals and care centers in India, where they constitute the second-largest religious group. Two years ago, in June 2019, a 200-strong-Muslim mob descended on the busy Nil Ratan Sarkar Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata after an ailing septuagenarian, Mohammed Sayeed, passed away after a prolonged illness while receiving treatment in the hospital. It is reported that his grandson Ali planned the mob attack on the NRS hospital and mobilized the mob by writing provocative posts on Facebook. (It’s interesting how the social media giant allows such provocative posts by Muslims on its platform.)
The mob, which had gathered within hours, vandalized the landmark hospital, threw brickbats at the staff, and hit staff members with batons. Two young and promising doctors, Paribaha Mukhopadhyay and Yash Tekwami, were severely wounded in the melee. One had to be rushed to the operating table; the other was admitted to the critical care unit. Mukhopadhyay, who suffered a fracture in the right frontal lobe of the skull, will not be able to be a surgeon due to this injury.
Just a month later, in July 2019, a major furor ensued after the death of Saira Bano from a heart attack in the Lari Cardiology Centre in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. Her enraged relatives, accompanied by 100-odd people, stormed into the hospital and started a brawl at the Emergency Ward; medical staff had to halt operations for 5 hours due to the ongoing fracas. The residential doctors were forced to hide in bathrooms as the mob resorted to violence. The hospital authorities were compelled to shift emergency services to the Trauma Centre. There was a delay in starting OPD services due to the commotion, which added to the distress and prolonged the suffering of several other patients at the Lari Hospital. The crowd remained at the ward until the police arrived, and it was only with great effort that the police were able to move the mob out of the emergency ward.
These mobs seem to follow the same script in a recurring fashion, in different cities, troubling different hospitals. Back in 2017, following the same pattern, an angry mob of around 100 people from Kolkata’s Muslim-dominated Khidirpur ransacked the CMRI Hospital at Ekbalpore and hounded staff members after the death of Muslim teenager Saika Praveen during treatment.
Medical professionals were abused and assaulted at various Covid care facilities last year, after the Tablighi Jamatis incited country-wide unrest in the middle of the Covid-19 upsurge. When medical staffs were sent to an area within the proximity of a local mosque where twelve Jamatis had tested positive for Covid, they were beaten up and chased away. Even female staffers were not spared.
Another group of 26 Jamaat members created a disturbance at Ahmedabad’s Sola Civil Hospital that led to hours of high drama. In Uttar Pradesh’s at MMG District Hospital, six Muslims associated with the Tablighi Jamaat were booked for loitering around the wards naked and making lewd gestures at the nurses. In Indore’s Tatpatti Bakhal, Tablighi Jamaat members were accused of spitting on the medical staff, while in Delhi’s Narela quarantine station, two Jamaat members were reportedly found defecating in the corridors.
Some of these Muslims were refusing medication, alleging that the government was conspiring to execute them. One may overlook these comments, thinking that they are being made by people of meager education who do not know any better. But how should one react when trained medical professionals prove themselves to be equally spiteful and dangerous for the society of which they are a part?
Recently, Niha Khan, a nurse in Aligarh of Uttar Pradesh state, was found guilty of not injecting Covid vaccines into recipients’ bodies after inserting the needles. She would trash the loaded syringes in the dustbin. UPHC Doctor Afreen Khan has also been found guilty of working hand-in-glove with the nurse. Allegedly, she was aware of the actions of nurse Niha Khan and was purposely hiding the facts. A FIR has been registered against the two, and investigations are underway.