Condemning a series of attacks on doctors, paramedical staff and ASHA workers in Telangana, Congress senior leader and Rajya Sabha MP K V P Ramachandra Rao on Friday called upon the Telangana government to strictly enforce the AP Medicare Service Persons and Medicare Institutions (Prevention of Violence and Damage of Property) Act in 2008 enacted during the Dr Y S Rajasekhara Reddy regime in united Andhra Pradesh.
K V P Ramachandra Rao, a doctor himself and considered as the inner conscience of former chief minister Dr Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, said doctors are at risk on two fronts – combating the virus from the frontline exposing themselves to the contagion and facing constant attacks and intimidations from kin of patients.
Stating that those who perpetrate violence against doctors and paramedical staff should be punished stringently, KVP said the Telangana government should strictly enforce the Act enacted by Y S Rajasekhara Reddy to boost the morale of the medical fraternity.
The legislation prohibits violence against medicare service persons and damage to property in medicare service institutions. More significantly, the Act makes such offences against the medical fraternity cognizable and non-bailable. Persons who commit such offences shall be punished with imprisonment for a period for three years and with fine, which may extend to Rs 50,000. A similar law was enacted by Haryana and several States followed, KVP said.
Post-bifurcation of the state, the Telangana government renamed the original Act as Telangana Medicare Service Persons and Medicare Services Institutions (Prevention of Violence and Damage to Property) Act, 2008, and strictly enforced it in two or three cases involving attacks against doctors and hospitals in Hyderabad. However, it is unsure if Jagan Mohan Reddy led AP government enacted the Act brought in by his father and former chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy in united Andhra Pradesh.
KVP’s comment comes in the wake of reports of doctors, paramedical staff and ASHA workers being attacked across Telangana. In Hyderabad, doctors and other medical staff were physically assaulted at Gandhi Hospital by an angry mob after the death of a corona positive patient. In Nizamabad and Adilabad, ASHA workers were attacked by locals when the health workers visited the area to screen residents for signs of novel coronavirus infection after some of the residents are believed to have attended the large religious congregation in Markaz Masjid in South Delhi’s Nizamuddin. Angry mobs refused screening and chased away the ASHA workers.