MHA asks states, UTs to take action against those who assault healthcare workers

NEW DELHI: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Saturday directed states and union territories (UTs) to take stringent action against people who assault healthcare professionals and register institutional First Information Reports (FIRs).
It has also been directed to fast-track such cases and invoke provisions of the Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Act, 2020.
Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla in his letter wrote, “In the present circumstances, it has become imperative that strict action be taken against those who assault healthcare professionals. Institutional FIRs should be registered against assaulters and such cases should be fast-tracked. You may also like to invoke provisions of the Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Act, 2020, where applicable.”
Several cases have come to the fore during the COVID-19 pandemic wherein violence on doctors and other healthcare workers have been reported across the country.
States and UTs have also been advised to keep a close watch on social media for objectionable content against healthcare workers.
“I would like to reiterate that a close watch be kept on any objectionable content in social media which may exacerbate such situations. Concerted efforts should be made through posters in hospitals, social media, etc. to emphasise the valuable contribution being made by doctors and other healthcare personnel in the fight against COVID-19,” said Bhalla.
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has been seeking effective and strong laws “against healthcare violence”. In this regard the IMA has held nationwide protests and even written to Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
After the passing of the directive, IMA thanked the Government of India and Home Ministry for its directive to the states and UTs to take utmost care to prevent and take stringent action on the violence on health care professionals.
“We thank and welcome these directives by the office order, if it is converted into a central law with strict terms it will empower the states to implement with more care and give more confidence to us,” the IMA said. (Agency)