In a shocking incident in Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh, on Sunday, 11 April, police officials beat villagers after a dispute with health workers over allegedly hospitalising a COVID patient.
The incident captured on video has gone viral, where the police personnel are seen hitting a man and two women with long plastic pipes. Some men were also seen attacking the police with sticks.
The incident has drawn public flak, after which two police officials were “line attached” as punishment. Line attached is when a police official is taken off field duty and deployed in the police line as a form of punishment.
“The Chhaigaon Makhan police station in charge and a constable were ‘line attached’ in connection with this incident,” said Khandwa Superintendent of Police Vivek Singh to PTI, adding that a probe will be carried out into the matter by City Superintendent of Police (CSP) Lalit Gathre.
What Are Health Workers Saying?
Health officials, as per the report, said that the patient got tested on Friday, 9 April. After his results showed he was COVID positive, the team of health officials went to the village to take him to a hospital on Sunday. His relatives, however, insisted on home quarantining and a physical altercation with the officials ensued.
The team allege they were beaten by the patient’s relatives, and have filed an FIR, added the report.
What Is the Police Saying?
In a statement shared by PTI, the police stated that there was an altercation between health workers and the relatives of a COVID-positive patient who were allegedly resisting hospitalising the 20-year-old patient.
A team of officers from the Chhaigaon Makhan police station reached Sirsod Banjari village, Khandwa, and claimed they were allegedly attacked by the patient’s family, added the statement.
As per PTI, the police station in charge G Kanail said,
“After the health workers complained about being attacked by the patient’s family, a police team arrived at the village. They too were attacked and a sub inspector and an assistant sub inspector got injured along with two health workers.”
What Are Politicians Saying?
Former Chief Minister, Kamal Nath tweeted the viral video of the attack, calling the incident “inhumane and barbaric”. He addressed Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, asking him how a family of a COVID positive patient, including women, were being brutally beaten by the police.
Nath called for strict action against the culprits, and asked the government to issue guidelines to prevent any such recurrences.
In the video, villagers are seen hitting the police with sticks, and the police are seen hitting some, including two women who were trying to intervene, with a long plastic pipe.
Senior MP Congress leader, Arun Yadav, demanded the booking of policemen who thrashed the villagers, as per PTI.
Not an Isolated Incident
This incident comes days after another video that went viral on social media showing two policemen thrashing a man in Indore on Tuesday, 7 April, for not wearing a mask properly.
The man in the video has been identified as Krishna Keyer, a 35-year-old autorickshaw driver.
The policemen were identified as Kamal Prajapat and Dharmendra Jat, both of whom were suspended once the video came to light, NDTV reported.
In view of the rising COVID cases, masks have been made mandatory and COVID-appropriate behaviour is expected, amid other restrictions put in several states.
Since last year, several videos of police resorting to physical punishments have been widely circulated on social media. With the rising cases, the states again have been told to enforce COVID-appropriate behaviour to counter laxity in the use of masks and social distancing.
(With inputs from PTI and NDTV.)