Bhopal: The Madhya Pradesh police on Wednesday registered an FIR against Suresh for hiding travel history and infecting 11 people of COVID-19 in Morena.
The Civil Line Police of Morena district have booked Suresh under various sections of the IPC. “An FIR has been registered against Suresh for hiding travel history despite the looming threat of COVID-19 and infecting 11 others,” said Additional SP (Morena) Hansraj Singh, adding that he will be arrested after doctors discharge him from the hospital.
Suresh, a resident of Morena district, had returned from Dubai on March 17 and met hundreds of people in the village. After three days, on March 20, he fed 1,500 people on the occasion of shraddha sanskar (death anniversary) of his mother. As a result, he infected at least 11 others with COVID-19 infection and more than 26,000 people have been quarantined by the administration till date.
Madhya Pradesh Police is dealing with an iron fist with those who are attacking the cops, hiding travel history, concealing information about the virus, breaking curfew rules or those who are trying to surpass the law. Thousands of people have been booked across the state including 900 people in Bhopal. Dozens have been booked under the stringent National Security Act (NSA), 1980 to “maintain law and order”.
Even CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Wednesday cautioned people asking them not to conceal information about the virus. “If you are hiding facts about COVID-19 infection, you are inviting death. Standing instructions have been issued to register FIRs against such people. Also, strict action should be taken against anyone who misbehaves with the staff engaged in corona work,” said Chouhan.
Nevertheless, tall claims and threats by the CM and the MP Police t fall flat when it comes to the top bureaucrats. Principal Secretary of Madhya Pradehs’s Health Department, Dr. Pallavi Jain Govil, and Additional Director Information/Communication (Health), Dr Veena Sinha, who were tested COVID-19 positive last week not only hid the travel history of their sons who had returned from the USA on March 16, but also concealed the information about the virus, claimed news reports.
Despite showing symptoms of COVID-19, they reportedly continued to attend meetings with other officials including Chief Minister Chouhan. As a result, more than 50 Health Department officials have fallen prey to the novel coronavirus. Of 94, total cases in Bhopal, 60% patients are from the Health Department. Thirty IAS officers have either been quarantined or are in isolation, according to a list released by the government. The state has no health minister despite a stable government. The fate of the people is in a limbo.
Despite the evidence of the Health Department officials’ dangerous--possibly lethal--carelessness and intentional withholding of information, instead of taking strict action against them, just like Suresh and others, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government is giving VIP treatment at their residences with dozens of health staff members.
Govil, on Sunday, said, “My son had returned to Bhopal on March 16. The Union Government, on March 12, had issued a list of 12 countries’ passengers for screening, and the USA was not on the list. Besides, he was in quarantine till March 30.”
“I’m COVID-19 positive, but healthy and it is possible that the disease was transmitted to my body during work,” she said during the daily health bulletin.
In addition to this, the Deputy Director of Integrated Disease Surveillance, who had returned to Bhopal on March 21 from Indore (the epicentre of COVID-19 cases in MP), had not been screened. And now, he has tested positive.
Every day, Health Department staff members are falling prey to the novel coronavirus. The results of dozens of samples are awaited and the toll is increasing everyday.
Commenting on this crisis, health activist and member of Jan Swasthya Abhiyan Amulya Nidhi said, “We should not only blame the Health Department officials but also the political turmoil. If CM Chouhan is calling an emergency meeting, how can senior officials like the Principal Secretary skip it? And if any official sneezes in front of the CM or during the meeting, the CM Chouhan should ask him to rest. But, he didn’t.”
Dozens of social activists and journalists are taking to Twitter and demanding action against both the officials responsible for infecting their colleagues.
Also read: COVID-19: ‘Crops Destroyed, are Forced to Starve,’ say Madhya Pradesh Farmers