How Lockdown & Apathy from Authorities Are Taking a Toll on Jharkhand's Pregnant Women & Their Babies
Imtiyaz, a grocery shop owner in his early 40s, had for months been planning big celebrations the day his first child would be born. Instead, it turned out to be a day of mourning.
“Nine months ago when Nargis had told me about her pregnancy, I was so excited. It was a special moment for both of us,” said Imtiyaz, who lost his first child due to the unavailability of proper medical attention to his wife under the Covid-19 lockdown.
The couple live in Ranchi district's Hindipiri area which became a coronavirus hotspot during the first phase of lockdown. Strict restrictions were imposed in and around the locality as it was completely sealed in order to contain the spread of the pandemic.
The couple had found it difficult under the lockdown to get medicines and healthcare facilities, but they had hoped that in case of a medical emergency the administration would help them out.
It was around 1am on Saturday when Nargis went into labour. She was in extreme pain and needed immediate medical assistance. Imtiyaz drove his car towards the hospital but was stopped at the exit point of Hindipiri. The officials asked him to return, citing the lockdown.
Imtiyaz tried hard to explain the situation but the officials were not convinced. He tried a different route where he was halted bya police control room (PCR) van. The officer sitting in the vehicle demanded a medical pass which Imtiyaz didn't have. The officer advised him to take permission from higher authorities.
Looking at his wife in excruciating pain, Imtiyaz drove back home. He asked some women in his neighbourhood to help with the delivery.
After a few hours, Nazia gave birth, but due to lack of medical attention that a newborn requires, they lost their child.
While wiping his tears, Imtiyaz said, “What happened to us was very unfortunate. I can't even think of someone else going through this situation. I pray to Allah to never give this much pain and helplessness to anyone else.”
Terming the incident as “unfortunate”, senior superintendent of police (SSP) Anish Gupta said he was going through the CCTV camera footage from the area to ascertain which police personnel were deployed and what happened that day. He has promised “strict action” against those found at fault.
Hindipiri is a Muslim-dominated area and till now 22 out of Jharkhand's 45 cases have been reported from this locality. Around the end of March, 25 people who had attended a congregation of the Islamic body Tablighi Jamaat in Delhi were brought out from the Badi Masjid (Markaz) situated in Hindpiri.
The first Covid-19 case recorded in the state was a Malaysian woman who was part of the team of 19 foreigners. Now, four patients including the Malaysian woman have recovered from the disease. But the state also registered its fourth death on Tuesday due to Covid-19.
A few days ago, in an another heart-wrenching incident from Jamshedpur, a pregnant and bleeding Rizwana Khatun, who was rushed to the MGM hospital for delivery, was allegedly asked to clean her blood and accused of spreading the coronavirus. As a result, she lost her child.
In her letter to chief minister Hemant Soren, she wrote, "I was abused on the basis of my religion. Though I was bleeding, I was asked to wipe my blood. I was even beaten with slippers. I was deeply shocked by their horrific behaviour towards me. I went to a nursing home where I came to know that my child had died."
An inquiry is going on in the matter, but the family is inconsolable.