Narender, the patient zero or the first Covid-19 patient to be diagnosed from the erstwhile hotspot of Bapu Dham Colony, is struggling to get his job back as a sanitation attendant at GMCH-32. The man says that it is the false allegations and FIR levied against him for allegedly hosting a dinner party for more than a hundred people which has landed him in this position. “Even though those allegations were later proven to be false, my contractor says they can’t hire me back until the police clears my name entirely,” says the 30-year-old.
The sanitation attendant from the hospital was working at the hospital when he developed mild symptoms for the novel coronavirus and decided to get himself tested at the hospital, where he was diagnosed with the disease on April 24. Following this, a rumour was widely circulated that Narender had thrown an anniversary party where he invited more than a hundred people to his house before he was diagnosed. This account, which was then accepted by police, resulted in the UT administration filing an FIR against Narender for “disobedience to public order” and “malignant act likely to spread infectious disease dangerous to life.” Subsequently, a team of public health experts from GMCH-32 have proved that the man had been in direct contact with only ten people on the eve of his marriage anniversary.
Still, Narendar’s FIR remains on his record, and he needs clearance from the police in order to regain employment at GMCH-32 now. On May 3, an official from the establishment office issued an office order stating, “the competent authority has decided that Sh Narender working as Safai Karmachari on contract basis though outsource in GMCH- 32 may not be taken on duty till further order due to some administrative reason.” This order was based on the police proceeding against Narender. However, despite disproving allegations, the order has not been revoked yet.
Currently, Narender is running between the GMCH administration, private contractors, and the police to obtain gainful employment since June 22. The supervisor from the new company to which employment of Sanitation Attendants has been outsourced, says that they will employ Narender as soon as he gets police clearance. “There is a Performa he has to fill like every other employee and for that he needs police clearance. We have nothing against him. If the police give us in written that he has no criminal record, we will hire him,” said Sunil, the supervisor, adding, “Alternatively, the hospital administration can give a written order asking for him to be hired back.”
However, the Superintendent from the GMCH-32 establishment office who passed the termination order in the first place, says that he has appealed to the contracting agency to hire him back, and can do no more. “We did put in a word for Narender, but our hands are tied beyond that. We can only appeal to the contractors to take him, rest is up to them. The hospital has no issues hiring him back,” says Narinder Gupta, Superintendent from Establishment Branch 4 of GMCH-32.
While authorities continue to pass the buck around, Narender and his family suffer huge economic losses due to one malicious rumour which became the basis of police action against him.
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