NEW DELHI: Government to impose Rs 2-5 lakh fine to 7 years jail for those who attack health workers. Cabinet has approved promulgation of Ordinance to amend the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 making such acts of violence as cognizable and non-bailable offences and to provide compensation for injury to healthcare service personnel or for causing damage or loss to the property, said Information and Broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar during media briefing.
“Investigations will be completed in 30 days. There will be stringent punishment including fines up to Rs 2 lakh. If serious cases, the punishment will be imprisonment up to seven years and fine up to Rs five lakh...The message is clear. No attacks on health staff and doctors will be tolerated,” he added.
Since lockdown, a lot of reports on health workers in various parts of the country has come to the fore.
The Home Ministry had earlier written to State governments to take strict action against health worker attackers and in incidents of attacks on health professionals and frontline workers and ensure the security of the medical fraternity.
Referring to security-related incidents of some health professionals and frontline workers, Joint Secretary (MHA) Punya Salila Srivastava said the Home Ministry has “written to all the States to take strict action against those involved in the attacks.”
The Home Ministry’s instructions to the States were given amid reports from various States including Madhya Pradesh and Bihar where health workers and the police officials who went to collect the blood samples of the suspected COVID-19 patients were allegedly attacked by a mob. Stones were thrown at the medical staff and police by health worker attackers at the Hazrat Ganj Chowk of Qasim Bazar police station area in Munger in Bihar and Indore in Madhya Pradesh earlier this week. The ambulances were also damaged. Locals alleged that the quarantine facility provided by the administration is like a prison. Some of the patients also ran away from the quarantine facility but were later caught by the police.