12 held for ostracising health staff in Bengal

Sending a strong message against social ostracism of front-line Covid-19 workers, the West Bengal government arrested 12 persons in separate incidents since Sunday.

On Sunday, eight persons, including a government official and his school teacher wife, were held for allegedly harassing a block development officer at Arambagh in Hooghly district.

Seven of the them were sent to judicial custody for a week by the court on Monday, while a woman, suffering from a heart ailment, was granted bail.

In a separate incident on Tuesday, the police arrested five persons from southwest Kolkata, for allegedly heckling a government doctor, Saikat Basu, and his brother, Sudipta Basu, on Tuesday. A section of the neighbours had asked Saikat to stay indoors or stay away from the locality. When he was going for duty on Tuesday, a few neighbours heckled him and his brother, when he intervened.

“This is probably the first time that so many people have been arrested for ostracization,” said a senior police officer, who did not wish to be named.

This comes after the Global Advisory Body, headed by Nobel laureate Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee, had urged the West Bengal government to act against persons for ostracizing workers and family members of Covid-19 patients.

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