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ASHA worker beaten in Faridabad, five arrested

Recounting the incident, the injured ASHA worker said, “I had gone to conduct the door to door survey at the complex. When I knocked on this family’s door, they refused to cooperate. I called my senior officer, and he also came and asked them why they were not doing the survey, but they became disrespectful towards him as well.

Written by Sakshi Dayal | Gurgaon | Updated: April 22, 2020 12:22:53 pm
The District Secretary of the ASHA Workers’ Union in Faridabad, Sudha Pal, insisted that this problem is being faced by workers in the field on a daily basis as they undertake the survey. (Express photo/Javed Raja)

The Faridabad Police have arrested five people for allegedly beating up an ASHA worker on Tuesday, while she was conducting the door to door survey on behalf of the district administration, amidst the Coronavirus outbreak.

According to police, the incident took place at Ashiyana Apartment, a gated locality in Sector 62. The accused who have been arrested are Ird Khan, alias Pappu, Hafiz, Shekhawat, Nafis, and Jalalu. All are residents of the apartment complex.

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An FIR has been registered against them under Sections 148 (rioting), 149 (unlawful assembly), 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter a public servant from his duty), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), at the Adarsh Nagar police station.

Recounting the incident, the injured ASHA worker, Rekha Sharma said, “I had gone to conduct the door to door survey at the complex. When I knocked on this family’s door, they refused to cooperate. I called my senior officer, and he also came and asked them why they were not doing the survey, but they became disrespectful towards him as well.”

“He finally called the police, who also tried to make them understand but a crowd eventually gathered, and people became aggressive and beat us up with sticks…All I had asked them was if there was anybody in the house who had travelled from outside, or attended the Jamaat,” she said.

Sharma, a Sector 65 resident, has been employed as an ASHA worker for the last 6 years. Her claim that the police personnel as well as the health team were beaten up with sticks by the residents was backed by a police officer who had reached the scene following the health team’s call.

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“We were patrolling in the Subhash Nagar area when we received information that some people were misbehaving with an ASHA worker in Ashiyana Apartment. We reached the spot and tried to urge them to cooperate, but they continued to misbehave. A crowd slowly gathered and people started beating us up. We had to eventually ask for backup to manage the situation and arrest the accused,” he said.

Sharma as well as an Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) sustained injuries on their arms and legs in the incident, and had to be administered first aid.

The District Secretary of the ASHA Workers’ Union in Faridabad, Sudha Pal, insisted that this problem is being faced by workers in the field on a daily basis as they undertake the survey.

“We are going out individually, on our own, to conduct the survey. This is not something new, because ASHA workers always do go in the field alone, but the situation right now is such that people become very aggressive with us. Some people are trying to say that this has happened yesterday because the residents were from a minority community, but that is not true, it has been happening with other communities as well,” said Pal.

“A lot of our workers, when they go to homes, are instead cross questioned by residents, that you come to ask about fever and cold, has your government ever come to ask if we have food in our homes, if our stoves are burning? This is happening across Haryana, we have spoken to senior officials in Chandigarh about this as well. In this situation, our workers need to be sent in the field with a team, which also has male members, not on their own,” she said.

Commissioner of Police, KK Rao, meanwhile, warned that strict action will be taken against anyone found misbehaving with ASHA workers.

“In this difficult time, the health department is working very hard, ASHA workers are conducting door to door surveys, but people do not seem to understand this and are harassing them. Strict action will be taken against anyone found to be indulging in such behaviour and they will be sent to prison,” he said.

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