Five people have been arrested by Faridabad Police for allegedly beating up an Asha worker on Tuesday while she was conducting a door-to-door coronavirus-related survey on behalf of the district administration.
Police said the incident took place at Ashiyana Apartment in Sector 62, and identified the accused as Ird Khan, Hafiz, Shekhawat, Nafis, and Jalalu, all residents. An FIR has been registered under various IPC sections.
“When I knocked on this family’s door, they refused to cooperate. I had asked if there was anybody in the house who had travelled from outside or attended the Tablighi Jamaat gathering. I called my senior officer; he came and asked them why they were not participating in the survey, but they were disrespectful towards him as well,” Asha worker Rekha Sharma said.
“He finally called the police, who also tried to make them understand, but a crowd eventually gathered… people became aggressive and beat us up with sticks,” she said.
Sharma, a Sector 65 resident, has been employed as an Asha worker for the last six years. Her claim that police personnel as well as the health team were beaten up by residents with sticks was confirmed by a police officer, who had reached the scene following the health team’s call.
“We were patrolling in Subhash Nagar when we received information that some people were misbehaving with an Asha worker. 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 sustained injuries to their arms and legs and were administered first aid.
District Secretary of the Asha Workers’ Union in Faridabad, Sudha Pal, said problems are being faced by field workers on a daily basis.
“We are going out individually to conduct the survey. This is not something new because Asha workers always go to the field alone, but the situation right now is such that people become very aggressive. 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.
“When they go to homes, a lot of our workers are cross-questioned by residents — ‘you come to ask about fever and cold, but 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. In this situation, our workers need to be sent with a team, which also has male members, not on their own,” she said.
Police Commissioner K K Rao 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.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines