The incident occurred on Wednesday in the city's Tatpatti Bakhal neighbourhood, one of the two hotspots of the virus outbreak in Indore, where a team of five health officials had been trying to conduct screenings for coronavirus among residents. According to police, the officials were trying to trace and contact a patient who had been infected with COVID-19.
In a video, now viral on social media, two of the workers clad in blue personal protective equipment suits can be seen running away as a local mob pelts in with stones. What starts as a small crowd soon turns into a 100-strong mob armed with stones and sticks and screaming abuses as they chased the medicos. Two women doctors were allegedly injured in the attack, NDTV reported. The doctors were reportedly rescued by police after they managed to escape on a vehicle.
#WATCH Madhya Pradesh: Locals of Tatpatti Bakhal in Indore pelt stones at health workers who were there to screen people, in wake of #Coronavirus outbreak. A case has been registered. (Note-Abusive language) (1.04.2020) pic.twitter.com/vkfOwYrfxK— ANI (@ANI) April 1, 2020
The incident has evoked widespread anger on social media.
Ridiculously disgusting 😡— Santosh Addagulla (@santoshspeed) April 1, 2020
These people are criminals of top order, how can they even attack the medics who are like angels savings lives in this #COVID19Pandemic situation
This entire neighbourhood in Indore should be locked down for another 21 days as punishment. https://t.co/hTjxP8Iixw— Shivam Vij (@DilliDurAst) April 2, 2020
After seeing that Indore video where doctors, healthcare ppl are being chased, beaten, I received this DM from an AIIMS doctor. I got little emotional. He is angry, scared but still on work.. made some valid point. Imagine U seeing that video while on duty. Respect. With consent pic.twitter.com/hjQYaUsNSx— Paresh Rawal fan (@Babu_Bhaiyaa) April 1, 2020
This group of men & women must know that they are the society’s biggest enemy. Far from gratitude, doctors & health officials were attacked in Indore. The harshest of punishment is required. These people are a danger to India. #CoronaWarriors. Video shared by @Anurag_Dwary pic.twitter.com/dvmBebAA7s— Sanket संकेत (@sanket) April 2, 2020
Indore. Look at the health workers. They are running for their lives. This does not happen in a normal country. pic.twitter.com/4cMdUUMmed— Shubhangi Tiwari (@shubh19822) April 1, 2020
The video from Indore is disturbing at so many levels. The health workers are risking their lives to save the nation, and they are treated with stones. Imagine this is happening in a lockdown period.— Rahul Raj (@bhak_sala) April 1, 2020
Four men have allegedly been arrested with regard to the incident, police said.
The Tatpatti Bakhal neighbourhood is a sensitive spot with at least two positive cases reported from the area after which nearly 54 families were put under quarantine, much to the anger and chagrin of residents.
This is not the first incident of hostility against medicos in Indore. In fact, just two days prior to the attack, residents of Ranipuri, yet another neighbourhood in the city, spat at health officials and abused them during screening.
Some on social media claimed that the attack was a result of the mistrust of health and police officials amid locals after alleged targeting of Muslims in the city for testing and quarantining in wake of the Tablighi Jamat gathering at Delhi's Nizamuddin earlier in March. The event has now become one of the biggest coronavirus outbreak clusters in India and medical as well as government teams are scouring states to trace and contact all patients or potential patients.
Madhya Pradesh has recorded 93 cases of novel coronavirus which are currently active and seven deaths due to the virus.