A mob allegedly locked up journalists — who had gone to report an “unauthorised vaccination drive" — inside a room and attempted to burn them alive by pouring kerosene at Barabanki in Uttar Pradesh late on Saturday. The unauthorised vaccination drive was being conducted at night by a man claiming to be a healthcare worker.
Police have arrested four persons, while 18 accused have been named in the FIR registered against 50 people. Police were also conducting searches across the village to nab the accused. The man who was conducting the drive, however, is yet to be arrested.
According to police, an unauthorised vaccination drive was unearthed in Barabanki district under which vaccines were brought in illegally from Shravasti district and were being administered in Manpur village. The village is under the jurisdiction of Zaidpur police station, which is investigating the matter.
Police said at least 150 village residents were being administered the Covid-19 vaccine in this drive. The man conducting the camp identified himself as Surya Pratap Singh posted as a lab assistant at the health department in Shravasti district, from where he had brought the vaccine stock, police added.
Police further said they also found empty and filled vials of Covaxin in large quantities at the spot. But when all of this was being taped by mediapersons, health workers and village residents present there got angry and locked up the journalists and tried burning them alive, police added.
Police also said some people in the mob took out arms and threatened to kill the journalists.
Some journalists managed to escape from the spot and informed district and health authorities, following which officials and teams from three police stations reached the spot, police said.
A case has been registered under sections pertaining to attempt to murder among others. Some village residents present at the site said this health worker often came to Barabanki from Shravasti to vaccinate people.
Barabanki chief medical officer (CMO) Dr Ramji Verma said, “We have received information about such vaccinations from the media and the district administration. This is unfortunate and shocking. A similar case had come up in the district earlier also and the accused were sent to jail.” Dr Verma said a health team had been sent to spot to investigate the matter.
The team comprises additional CMO (administration) Dr KNN Tripathi, district immunisation officers Dr Rajiv Kumar Singh and Chatrik Singh, and superintendent Dr Sunil Jaiswal. They will soon submit a report on the matter and strict action will be taken, Dr Verma added.
Superintendent of police, Barabanki, Yamuna Prasad said, “In a case of indecency and misbehaviour with the media, 18 accused have been named among other unknown persons. No one will be spared. Four people have been arrested and others will soon be arrested and face strict action.”